The perfect cheese plate. Knowing how to assemble it – and match it with wine – is a hosting essential. So before you throw together a hodgepodge of grocery store cheeses for your next dinner party, peep these tips from David Seaton, former cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen and now the wine, cheese, and charcuterie director at Spoke Wine Bar, opening in February in Somerville, MA:

Cheese Plate

Choose Your Cheeses

  • Start with a simple, balanced mix of cheeses, such as a mild goat cheese, a buttery Brie, and an earthy, hard cheese like Gruyère.
  • “A ‘tasting portion’ of cheese should be in the realm of 3/4 of an ounce per person,” Seaton says, “but if you do have some left over, there are worse problems!”
  • Buy your cheese the day of or the day before your gathering and leave it out at room temperature (65 – 70 degrees). Serving cheese cold will “mute or mask the flavors,” but if you do have to refrigerate it, “make sure it is wrapped in butcher paper or cheese paper and keep it in the crisper section” to prevent it from drying out.

 
Add Your Extras 

  • Accoutrements should be “a backdrop to the cheese.” Seaton suggests offering a jam or marmalade, roasted mixed nuts, and fresh or dried fruit for texture and flavor. As for the vehicle? Bread and crackers “are both pretty neutral, so you won’t do much harm even choosing a seeded bread.”
  • When it comes to cured meats, the occasion is king: “If you’re having a formal gathering, charcuterie should be on a separate platter. If you have guests coming over to watch the hockey game or Golden Globes, do what you want.”
  • Serve your cheese on a wooden cheese board for a rustic appearance, or make your own cheese plate.

 
Continue reading “Assemble a Party-Ready Cheese Plate” »

January 16, 2013

Cue the season of entertaining – and with it, an insurmountable amount of hors d’oeuvres. In my case: lots and lots of cheese plates.

For a twist on my average serveware, I found inspiration in this seasonal DIY and made my own little cheese plate – in under an hour! All you need is a white plate (secret: your local dollar store has loads of them), a Porcelaine 150 pen (found at any craft store), a list of your very favorite cheeses, and an oven.

Directions: 

  • Wash and dry your white plate thoroughly.
  • Write down a list of your favorite cheeses. Want to skip this step? Peep this extensive list.
  • Using the Porcelaine 150 pen, carefully write your list of cheeses around the edge of the plate. It’s okay if it looks scribbled, but if you want to make your writing straight, try blue painter’s tape.
  • Make a mistake? No worries. Simply wipe with a wet paper towel and start again.
  • Once you’re happy with your plate, bake at 300°F for 30 minutes. 
  • Let set for 24 hours, then add cheese and serve.


By Joanna Berliner, Editor

Have a favorite DIY? Share it in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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November 2, 2012