For years I was really intimidated by cheese (it’s moldy, and stinky and can be kind of weird looking!) But after spending some time experimenting with different cheeses I finally feel comfortable picking out cheese I know I’ll love. This past summer I became obsessed making cheese plates and made it part of my 52 Dinner Parties project. But put aside all your fears, because today we’re partnering with Triscuit to do a post on a few tips I’ve learned on how to put together a cheese plate.
Tips on Picking Out Cheeses
• Pick one Cheese You Like. I tried Comte at a friend’s house in Paris and loved it. It’s a nice basic, nutty, creamy cheese. I used that as a jumping point to trying other cheeses. “I really love Comte, can you recommend other cheeses that are similar?” I was able to discover several other cheeses I love this way.
• Find Someone Who Knows. Sometimes I get to a cheese section at a store and no one is around but once in a while you find someone that is super knowledgeable about cheese. (It happens to me every few months.) When this happens I corner that person and ask them a million questions about the cheeses I’m buying, I ask for suggestions, and even ask about any new cheeses.
•Ignore Cheese Plate “Rules”. I think part of the reason I felt intimidated by cheese is some of them look kind of scary, the mold freaked me out a little. In addition I had tried several pungent cheeses and after giving them several fair chances I admitted to myself that I just didn’t like them. Every cheese plate guide I read demanded that I have a stinky cheese and a variety of goat, cow and sheep cheeses. That’s great if you love them but once I had experimented a lot I felt comfortable putting together interesting cheeses that I loved (and avoiding the ones I didn’t.) But don’t feel obligated to add a goat cheese if you don’t like the flavor. Sometimes it’s also nice to have a pre-made snack for guests to grab. Triscuit has a bunch of recipes on their Made for More Pinterest board. We included one along with our cheese board below. It only has 3 ingredients: pomegranate seeds, olive and ricotta so they were super easy to make.
Tips on Making a Cheese Plate
• Everything Keeps! Guests are always impressed when I can throw together a cheese plate for last minute party but it is actually a really easy and low-maintenance party food. All you need is simple ingredients to make a beautiful cheese board. Most of the foods you can buy in advance. We keep Triscuit crackers, nuts and dried fruits on hand because they keep so well. Even most cheeses keep really well for a few weeks.
•Cheese Eaters at a Party are Pretty Lazy. The harder a cheese is to cut the less people eat it. I’ll do things like cut the sides off a wedge so it’s easier for people to cut. I’ll even cut a few pieces to start just to get people going. Certain semi hard cheeses I’ll pre-cut into cubes or slices for easy access.
• Pick One Cheese. This is a tip I learned from David Lebovitz. Instead of having several cheeses just get a giant wedge of one really great cheese. That way you don’t end up with several half-eaten pieces at the end of a party. I love this and do this all the time. Choosing the right cracker is important. I always like to try to have a variety of crackers to try with the cheeses! Triscuit crackers are a favorite because the texture pairs so well with creamy cheeses.
•Choose a Greenery! Something about green leaves makes everything look more appetizing. I always pick some Rosemary or Thyme or even lay out a pile of Arugula leaves as a garnish.
This post is sponsored by Triscuit: Made for More.
Photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day