This sexy little Provençal cheese plate is inspired by the fresh, seasonal flavors of Southern France. Filled with bright, cakey goat cheese, lavender-infused honey, oily sweet peppers, briny olives, fresh herbs, this French cheese platter is a perfect dinner on a summer day. Scroll down for a shopping list and assembly guide so you can make this sweet thang at home!
Provençal Cheese Plate
This little French cheese platter is overflowing with refreshing flavors inspired by Provence, a kingdom of olive oil, figs, and lavender fields in the middle of southern France. It’s also known for having some seriously dank goat cheese, which is a heavenly combination with all of the aforementioned flavors. It’s the perfect platter for warm summer days, especially with a chilled bottle of rosé.
This Provençal cheese platter serves 4 comfortably, with each person getting about a quarter pound of cheese. That’s a proper serving for the average person, and about what I eat in a day.
What cheeses represent Provence?
Fresh Goat Cheese
Southern France is all about fresh, seasonal flavors like marinated peppers, olives, artichokes, and especially fresh goat cheese. Chèvre is creamy and tart, which is perfect with the bright, oily accompaniments. I chose Purple Haze from Cypress Grove, which is infused with fennel pollen and lavender, one of the most prominent flavors of Provence. I paired that cream dream with spicy Provençal olive oil and pickled sweet peppers. It’s a refreshing combo that begs for some hot and crusty baguette.
Aged Goat Cheese
Bloomy-rinded goat cheeses are another staple in Southern France. It’s my favorite style of cheese, especially when they’re cloaked in ash. Wabash Cannonball from Capriole Goat Cheese is a true standout in this category: I love the wrinkled rinds, the dense, cakey interior, and the beautiful bone-white paste against the dark, goth rind. It’s so bright and complex you can eat her straight up naked, but she really works it with sweet figs and salty pistachios.
Aged Sheep’s Milk Cheese
You see a lot of aged sheep’s milk cheeses made in France’s southernmost point, near the Pyrenees. They’re toothsome and rich with a slightly briny flavor, the perfect compliment to plump and juicy olives from the area. I love Esquirrou, a petite wheel with complex flavors of roasted nuts.
Unsalted Cultured Butter
European-style butter is churned longer to make it fattier. It’s also fermented so it has a more complex, slightly cheese flavor. Smear it on a warm baguette and top with crunchy salt, or you can be extra slutty and try it with a slice of aged sheep’s milk cheese. I smuggled this one in from France, but I also recommend butter from Vermont Creamery, Isigny Ste-Mère, or Ploughgate Creamery.
To make this Provençal cheese plate, you will need the following equipment:
- 1 board or slate (at least 8 x 10)
- 1- 5in. cazuela, or another shallow bowl
- 2 pinch bowls
- 2 cheese spreaders
- 1 sharp soft-cheese knife
- 1 little spoon
Provençal Cheese Plate
- 4 oz fresh goat cheese such as Purple Haze from Cypress Grove
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 pickled sweet peppers sliced
- 4 oz soft-ripened chèvre such as Wabash Cannonball
- 3 tbsp lavender-infused honey
- 6 dried figs sliced in half
- 2 tbsp French butter such as Isigny Ste-Mère
- ¼ cup roasted pistachios shelled
- ½ cup olives
- 4 oz aged sheep's milk cheese from France such as Esquirrou
- 1 baguette
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Heat the baguette until warm and crispy, about 8 minutes.
- Shape the goat cheese into a disk, and place inside a shallow cazuela. Pour the olive oil over the goat cheese, and garnish with the sliced peppers. Set aside.
- Cut off the top and bottom rind off of the French sheep's milk cheese. Slice into triangles, and set aside.
- Put the butter and honey into separate small bowls, and set aside.
- To arrange the platter, start by placing the cazuela in the upper righthand corner. Then, place the lavender honey in the lower righthand corner, and the butter in the lower lefthand corner.
- Cut off a couple of slices of goat cheese, and place in between the cazuela and honey.
- In the upper lefthand corner, layer the slices of sheep's milk cheese with the opposite sides sticking up so that it resembles a braid.
- Place the figs and pistachios around the soft-ripened goat cheese.
- Place the olives in between the sheep's milk cheese and the fresh goat cheese.
- Surround the butter and fresh goat cheese with slices of baguette.
- Fill in the gaps with rosemary and thyme.
- Place a small spoon near the honey, spreaders by both the fresh goat cheese and butter, and a sharper knife for the aged chèvre. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!
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Want more tips on how to make that Provençal cheese plate extra special? Check out these bad boyz.
Thank you to Cypress Grove Isigny Ste-Mere, and Sopexa for providing cheese for this post! Your support means the world.