So I know a lot of jokes about cheese, but none of them are very mature. I mean coming up with cheese puns are a bries. The reason for this is that I sell cheese for a living. But I camembert it any longer! Anyways, my family really loves cheese. In fact, my dad recently went on a cheese diet to cheddar a few pounds. It didn’t work out too well because he was only eating sliced cheese, which really isn’t that grate for you. Chees-us I’m done.
Sorry for being so cheesy, I just couldn’t help myself. Alright, alright that was my last one, I promise.
Anyways, for just about every event that I’ve been to had food, a cheese plate was present. They can be the paramount level of class or just a plate of Ritz with a can of Cheez Wiz (nothing wrong with that, but ya know…). When something is trendy and classy, it tends to cost a lot of money. So knowing how to make your own cheese plate can save you a lot of money and make your parties stand out!
Your cheese plate should of course include cheese, but additions like olives, fruit, and crackers/bread can bring it to the next level. The following is what I like to include.
Cheese: The basis of the platter of course is cheese. I like to include a few varieties to build my plate. I usually pick a soft, spreadable cheese, a medium hard cheese, and a hard cheese. On this particular plate I also included one vegan, almond milk cheese. The market for alternative cheeses has exploded in the last few years and are made from everything from almonds to cashews to coconut oil. Some of my favorite brands include Kite Hill, Treeline Cheese, and Field Roast’s Chao Cheeses line. I’m not a vegan currently (I have dabbled in the past), so my plate also included gouda, burrata, a brie-like cheese, and a hard cheese-similar in texture to parmesan reggiano.
Bread or crackers: I bought artisanal crackers to put on my plate. I bought cracker rounds, parmesan bread stick crackers, and seasoned and seeded crackers to spread cheese onto or just to eat. Of course you can also use crackers from mainstream brands like Keebler, Ritz, or Nabisco.
Fruit: Fruit is the perfect compliment to cheeses. Grapes are a must, but since it is summer I also put fresh berries onto the platter. Pears or apples would be the perfect addition to your cheese plate in the Fall.
Nuts: Add a sprinkling of nuts to your plate for a nice crunch.
Various antipastos: Put a little bowl of antipastos like olives, roasted red peppers, and marinated artichoke hearts onto your plate. They are a delicious way to add dimension to your platter and brighten it up. And what kinda party is it without a bowl of olives and some toothpicks!
Pickled Vegetables: I am obsessed with pickled carrots right now. Well really all pickles, as most of my friends know. They are crunchy, acidic, and bright. They can cut through the creamy cheese taste and cleanse your palate between cheeses. I luckily found a pickle bar at my local Whole Foods, but pickling your own veggies is incredibly easy. With a couple days foresight, you can easily pickle your own. Check out the recipe to do so below!
Quick Pickled Vegetables (Adapted from the Food Network’s recipe)
Vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, and beets all work well for pickling.
Take one pound of vegetables and blanch them, two to four minutes. Cool them in ice water and then put them into a glass bowl with 1/2 a sliced red onion. Make the brine: Boil 2 cups of white vinegar with 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of kosher salt, 2 bay leaves, 3/4 cup sugar, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and 1 teaspoon each peppercorns and coriander seeds; pour over the vegetables, then cool. Chill for at least 4 hours. The longer you let it set, the tastier it becomes!
Bloopers and cute pups!