Dessert Advisor typically focuses on after dinner goodies such as cakes, tarts, cookies, and pies. However, we thought it was high time to shine the light on another popular after-dinner treat – the cheese platter! For anyone not born clutching a baguette and sporting a beret, the pressure of arranging, or even just cutting into the arrangement, may leave you short of breath for fear of making a cheese faux pas. Yes, there are certain guidelines to follow, but we promise, it’s not as intimidating as it first appears.
If you’re preparing the platter yourself, the first thing you need to consider is where you’re going to find your cheeses. Do you have a local cheesemonger, or does your local supermarket offer you various selections? Can they cut it from the wheel with ample taste testing? Or you need to first buy pre-packaged potions and taste them at home? This is similar to how the ingredients in a cake determine the quality of the cake itself. The way you source your cheese is crucial to its enjoyment. The next statement we can’t stress enough is that cheese should always be enjoyed at room temperature. This makes it so the nuanced flavours have a chance to shine! Please avoid short-changing yourself. Allow your cheese to come to the right temperature.
When deciding on what to include, don’t feel you need to purchase only world-renowned French cheeses. Decide whether you want an international mix with say Italian, English, Danish, or Spanish contributions. The same applies to farm animals. Be adventurous and branch out to include cheese from sheep and goats if you can. Who knows, maybe a Norweigan Ski Queen Gjetost Original Goat Cheese will answer all of your cheese prayers in your first bite! Now for a last note on the topic of geography. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to live in Provence (France), Quebec (Canada), Wisconsin (US), or California (US) and have the blessings of a variety of local cheeses made on your doorstep.
Next, when do you want to unleash your gloriously curated cheese platter? Depending on where you’re from, it can be offered before you begin your courses, after your dessert course (English-style), or perhaps you want to present it in place of your dessert like the French do. This option allows guests to leisurely savour the last few drops of the evening’s wine. Maybe they’ll even want to open up another bottle or two!
When it comes to the attack plan, an odd number of cheeses is more aesthetically pleasing, and they should be arranged in order from more delicate to most pungent and powerful. This is the order to consume them, but don’t forget the bread! According to our extensive research, a cheese platter should always be served with bread. This can have dried fruit or nuts baked into it, or it can be any freshly-baked bread. Just make sure you include it. If you want to include fruits, nuts, conserves, or honey, go ahead. Your guests will be sure to appreciate any bonus treats accompanying your carefully considered cheeses.
Until next time, dear dessert friends!