I’ve always considered cheese to be special. Seriously.
As food goes it is in its own category, a bit like wine and chocolate. Heck, the three things together are even better! Think about it, someone figured out how to make grapes into wine, cocoa beans into chocolate and milk into cheese! That is some serious culinary magic when you really start to consider the science.
Imagine traditional French onion soup without cheese! Sure it would taste good, but it would be a boring brothy bowl of onions with soggy bread.
I tip my hat to vegans. I couldn’t do it. I’d miss the cheese.
One of the sadder stories I ever heard was Glynneth Paltrow explaining that she only allows herself to eat cheese at Christmas. Wow.
Wallace and Gromit and Gwyneth Paltrow aside, if you ‘do dairy’, cheese can be seriously handy to have around. Not only does it add some excitement to your morning scrambled eggs; but it can also make a quick appetizer when friends stop by to watch a movie or the game.
Cheese makes an easy centerpiece when you are hosting. It can be dressed up or down, looks cool, and tastes great.
A ‘cheese plate’ can even serve the dietary needs of your friends who are gluten free, dairy free, Paleo, or vegan IF you include a bit a variety for everyone – add fruit, nuts or meats. This gives everyone options that work for them. There is no need to make different dishes for each ‘dietary camp’ at the party.
Making a Cheese Plate
The trick to making a good cheese plate is to make it look as pretty as it tastes. Ideally pick three different types of cheese. Look for variety of texture and flavor. Maybe a Brie (soft and mild), a Blue Cheese (medium texture and stronger in flavor), and a Gruyere (a hard cheese with a ‘middle ground’ flavor). No need to break the budget buying something fancy. Buy what you like and dress it up. The trick to a good cheese plate is the presentation. Use fruit or herbs to add some color. If you use fruit, make it bite sized. Grapes and (fresh or dried) stone fruits work great! Want to get fancy? Add a small bowl of high end jam or honey. Treat it like a spread. Serve it all at room temperature. Don’t forget the crackers!
Remember if you’re trying to meet a wide variety of dietary needs – think in terms of each camp.
What will your vegan daughter eat?
What will your caveman brother want?
Chances are high that the extra things you add to your cheese plate to meet everyone’s needs will also go well with cheese. Don’t worry about your Keto friends…they will be THRILLED to see cheese!
Prefer your cheese hot?
Want to cook something for guests instead?
Pull out the puff pastry! Puff pastry can make even the simplest of efforts look like you went to culinary school. Here are two of our favorites:
GOAT CHEESE TART WITH FIG AND BACON – After the pastry dough thaws the assembly of this dish takes about 5 minutes. It looks rustic and tastes fantastic. The colors and textures are gorgeous.
HAM AND CHEESE PALMIERS – This is a bit trickier than the tart, only because you have to roll it up! Don’t like ham? Switch it out. One of the easiest ways to create something special for guests is to wrap up a yummy combination of flavors into a fun shape and throw it in the oven.
We’re always posting new recipes and ideas. We love to hear from you! Let us know what you’ve prepared – or what you’d like to see? We’re all ears!