Asiago~~ Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot~~ Grapes, Figs & Walnuts
Brie~~Sparkling Wines, Chardonnay~~Strawberries & Walnuts
Gouda~~Riesling, Zinfandel, Merlot~~Apples, Pears & Almonds
Gruyere~~Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah~~ Apples & Hazelnuts
Havarti~~Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir~~Pears, Grapes & Almonds
Mozzarella~~Chardonnay, Pinot Noir~~Olives & Tomatoes
How Much Do I Need? If cheese is going to be the only thing served, plan on buying 3 pounds for every eight guests. If cheese is going to be one of many items served, plan on 3 to 4 ounces per guest
Other items to round out your cheese plate include:
A selection of crusty and hearty breads, including sliced baguettes, bread sticks and crackers in all different shapes and sizes. It’s a good idea to vary taste and texture among the breads, as well as the cheeses.
Jarred condiments and vegetables are quick and fuss-free. Try some sweet preserves or honey, tart chutneys, and spicy mustard. Or add some artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and caponata. If you have a bit more time, prepare caramelized onions, which complement most cheese plates.
Other sweet and salty items like prosciutto and salami, or candied nuts and pistachios along with assorted seasonal and dried fruits can add color, flavor and texture.
Ideas on Serving:
Remove cheese from the refrigerator an hour before serving―cold mutes flavor.
Separate strong-smelling cheeses. If you are serving a pungent, stinky cheese, place it on a separate plate so it doesn’t overpower the more delicate ones. Four or five selections are enough.
Use a separate knife for each cheese, especially the soft varieties. Soft cheese spreads well with a butter knife; firm cheese might require a paring knife and aged cheese often requires a cheese plane.
To avoid guest gridlock Place the cheese platters and the other nibbles on several tables around the room.
Label each cheese so you won’t need to recite the names all evening. Also, jot down a few adjectives to describe flavor and texture.