Author: Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen In-Store Demo Thursday, July 12, 2018
Offer a variety of cheeses
It’s important to feature different types of cheeses to satisfy a range of preferences. But how do you achieve balance and variety?
Include a variety of:
· Milk types
To keep things simple, focus mostly on type of milk, texture, and age.
In regards to texture, have a couple of both semi-hard/hard and creamy cheeses. The same goes for age, offer some “fresh” cheeses as well as some aged cheeses.
And for milk type, offer cow milk cheeses but explore goat and sheep milk cheeses as well.
As a rule of thumb, always include one pungent cheese like blue cheese or milder fresh goat cheese.
Include some sweet components
Since cheese can be quite salty, it’s important to add some sweetness to a cheese board to balance out the flavors. Turn to fruits, jams, and honey to do the trick. Again, since variety is key when it comes to creating a cheese board, include at least one fresh fruit, one dried fruit, and something spreadable.
Fresh fruits: Pair with the season
o Sliced stone fruit (plums, apricots, peaches)
o Black berries
o Sliced pear
o Dried apricots
o Dried figs
o Dried cherries
Carbs are key
Always offer some type of carb, like crackers and bread. Although they’re often eaten with the cheese, crackers and bread also act as palate cleansers between bites. Opt for crackers and breads that have minimal flavors added, like water crackers and a good crusty bread, such as a French baguette. For a gluten-free option, I like Mary’s Gone Crackers.
A few small bites offer additional variety in flavor and texture, while also being an option for people who may not be overly adventurous with cheese.
· Olives (Castelvetrano are a great choice)
· Raw or roasted nuts (marcona almonds are a classic)
· Candied nuts
· Some type of green (microgreens, fresh herbs), for color
As a general rule, account for about 4 ounces of cheese per person. And to be safe, having extra is better than not having enough.
· 6–10 guests = 2 pounds
· 11–15 guests = 3 pounds
· 16–20 guests = 4 pounds
Let cheese come to room temperature before serving, this takes about an hour. Doing so allows the flavors of the cheeses to become more pronounced.
Thinly shave or “chip away” semi-hard and hard style cheeses (such as Parmesan, Manchego, Gruyere, Pecorino) for serving. Harder varieties are often quite salty, so sampling in smaller bites will actually benefit the flavors of these types of cheeses.
For shorter-aged, fresh cheeses with a soft rind (such as brie and triple cream), slice some of the round into wedges. This gives guests an entry point, making it more likely that they will cut into it. Plus, it shows them how to cut it when the pre-cut pieces have been taken.
Do you have leftovers?
Wrap leftover cheese in parchment paper, then loosely warp in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
What was featured on our cheese board today:
· Maytag Blue Cheese
· 6-Month Soirée Manchego
· Sartori Montamore Cheddar (Cross between cheddar and Parmesan)
· 5-year Aged Cheddar
· Triple Cream Goat Brie
· Dried apricots
· Fresh cherries
· Roasted Almonds
· Whole grain mustard
· French baguette
· Black pepper crackers