How to Make a Holiday Cheese Platter
As the go-go holidays arrive full force, odds are we’ll all find ourselves with an unexpected opportunity to host or attend a celebration. Be prepared for unanticipated frivolity with these helpful tips to create an inspired and memorable cheese plate in a flash.
One of the easiest and most satisfying quick turn spreads involves cheese and a few inspired accompaniments that add a color punch and textural elements, creating a festive feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
Set yourself up for a satisfying spread by choosing a few of your favorite Rogue Creamery cheeses and stocking up on a bevy of cheese-friendly items to tuck away in your pantry. Not only do they come in handy for those unanticipated arrivals, this protein packed array makes a super satisfying meal on those nights when the holiday rush leaves you too pooped to cook.
Selecting the Cheese
Choose several cheese styles to please a variety of palates. Our new 12 Cheeses of Christmas gift package is a holiday selection that gives you a great head start! While it’s ideal to have cheeses cut to order and served quickly, for those unplanned gatherings, a bit of flexibility is in order. It’s the raison d’etre for our pre-cut wedges. The sturdy packaging seals in moisture and retains quality for extended periods, making it a perfect choice for keeping quality cheese on hand.
Like a fine red wine that takes a bit of time to ‘open’ up, be sure to give all your cheeses, but especially blue cheeses, half an hour or more to come to room temperature. In the case of blues, you may notice a distinct lack of veining in cheeses that have just been opened. Veining becomes more pronounced when exposed to oxygen and serving at room temperature allows the full nuances of flavor to shine through.
If you happen to be in Southern Oregon, let our talented Cheese Shop team help you stock your fridge with amazing cheeses to cope with any holiday happening. Just call ahead to order, and we'll have your selections ready for pickup. And if you're not local, consider treating yourself to our new gift, The 12 Cheeses of Christmas. You'll have a new cheese on the menu every day between now and Christmas! Orders placed by December 19, 2012 will be in your home by Christmas.
To Accompany the Selections
For Color: reach for dried fruits like apricots, cranberries and golden raisins. Not only do they add a gorgeous pop of color, they also add a delightful, fruity sweetness which is a perfect foil to the rich, salty and savory notes of the cheese.
For Crunch: look to crackers and nuts. Never underestimate the power of a satisfying crunch in a well-composed cheese plate. Today’s crackers run the gamut from air-thin wafers to extra-sturdy specimens that add a toothsome crunch and contrast to creamy cheeses. Nuts have long been a standout on cheese plates, echoing the nutty nuances in many cheeses.
For Contrast: seek out a special single- varietal honey, spicy jams or exotic chutney. These elements add a note of the unexpected and can transform a wedge from tasty to transcendent. Honey is a particularly good choice when featuring a bold blue cheese as it cuts the intensity and makes it accessible for even the most timid taster.
Serving the Cheese: Traditional cheese plates are often composed of wedges or rounds of various cheeses with a smattering of fruit, nuts and accompaniments on a large platter or cheese board. This works well for guests familiar with cutting and serving their own cheeses. For guests less familiar with cheese platters, give them a head start by cutting a few wedges or triangles of cheese to demonstrate how best to cut and serve. Even better, cut single-serving pieces and provide forks or tongs to remove all serving obstacles.
Serve with your favorite holiday libations, and enjoy!