‘Tis the Season to Indulge
Thanksgiving is this week, and a big, festive cheese platter is the perfect way to show gratitude for delicious food and all the loved ones
gathered around you. It’s also a good time to ball out with a killer cheese board that everyone will thank you for.
It’s a lot easier to put together an impressive spread than you think.
Here’s how to build a holiday cheese plate.
1. Choose Festive Cheeses
This time of year, I love a variety of luxurious, rich cheeses, the type that will warm you and stand up to a spiced winter ale or a big red. Think rich triple-cream bries, funky spruce-wrapped cheeses, crunchy goudas, and full-bodied blues. Select anywhere from three to six cheeses – any more than that and people will get overwhelmed and forget what they’re eating. Buy one to two ounces total cheese per person.
2. Cut the Cheese
To keep your platter neat and tidy, slice cheeses on a separate cutting board before plating them. Here’s a great guide on how to cut different cheeses, but don’t worry too much about getting the slices perfect. Some cheeses will crumble, others are too soft to cut nicely, so let the cheese tell you how it wants to be plated.
For the best flavor and texture, serve at room temperature and cut just before serving.
3. Select Spiced & Sweet Pairings
Choose at least one pairing per cheese, a mix of sweet and savory. I love filling my holiday cheese plates with my favorite flavors of the season, like dried cranberries, fig jam, candied walnuts, spiced salami, and caramelized onion crackers. Luxurious cheeses lend themselves well to festive flavors –
you really can’t go wrong.
4. Arrange Your Platter
Arrange the cheeses from mild to strong and surround each with a suggested pairing. Keep any jams in a separate bowl, so it doesn’t contaminate the cheese. You should be able to eat the cheese naked before adding anything to enhance it. Also, be careful about what’s touching what – you don’t want the briny olives encroaching on those sweet candied nuts.
5. Decorate for the season
Bring out your favorite serving platter and your prettiest silverware, it’s the time to treat yourself and your loved ones to a taste of luxury! To keep the flavors separate, make sure to have a different serving utensil for each cheese and for each accoutrement that needs one, like jams or mustard.
Decorate your holiday cheese plate with fresh herbs, pinecones, mini squash – whatever you want. Just have fun with it!