A basic cheese plate should include at least three types of cheese to represent each of the different types of milk cheese is made from:cow, sheep and goat.
When choosing each cheese for your cheese plate, keep flavor and texture in mind. Serving three mild, soft cheeses isn't as interesting as serving a variety of flavors and/or texures.
This sample cheese plate includes three types of cheese that are sold in almost every cheese store or in the cheese section of upscale grocery stores:
First, decide which type of platter you want to serve the cheese on.
The wedge of humboldt fog can be stood upright or laid flat on its side. Leave the entire rind on, as it helps contain the soft cheese.
The wedges of gruyere and manchego are easiest for guests to cut if laid down flat on their broadest side. Two sides of the rind can be cut off if you like, to make the cheese easier for guests to cut. The wedges can be left whole, or you can cut some squares for people to eat.(see above photo)
Arrange the cheese on the platter you have chosen so that some open space is left for garnishes, either in the middle of the platter or between each wedge of cheese.
The easiest garnish for a cheese plate is a cluster of grapes. Simply set the cluster in the middle of the cheese plate. However, grapes don't always taste the best with cheese.
Olives and sliced meats are also a nice accompaniment to a cheese plate. Always serve crackers and/or a sliced baguette. Other types of bread that taste great with cheese are ciabatta, french bread and bread with dried fruit and nuts baked into it.
Cheese tastes best when served at room temperature. Set knives on or near the cheese plate, ideally one for each cheese.
Cheese markers are a fun way to identify the types of cheese you are serving.
Provide napkins and small plates.
- Set the cheese out a half hour before eating to bring them up to room temperature
- Ideally, put out a separate serving knife for each cheese. Or, put out one knife for the Gruyere and Manchego, and a separate knife for the Humboldt Fog, which is softer and messier.
- If you don't have a serving platter, a regular dinner plate can work just fine.
- As a rule of thumb, plan for each guest to eat 1-2 ounces of each cheese you serve. If you're serving heavy garnishes (sliced meat, olives, fruit) or other food along with the cheese plate, this amount may be a bit less.
- Always have plenty of sliced bread and/or crackers on hand. These items fill guests up so they eat less cheese.
What You Need
- Three wedges of cheese
- Serving platter or plate
- Cheese knives
- Fruit, olives, nuts or sliced meat for garnish
- Sliced bread or crackers