If you love cheese and hosting fabulous parties, you’ve come to the right place. Now-a-days, the availability of artisanal cheeses is plentiful and a little guidance to navigate through the options will help you pull off a palette-pleasing occasion.
Some of the most delicious artisanal cheese is made right here in Canada, with Ontario and Quebec being known around the world for their dairy products. If you are looking to get all European on us, the rule of thumb is to pair wine from the same country as the cheese. For instance, a savoury Parmigiano-Reggiano goes deliciously with any Italian red; Spain’s most popular cheese Manchego is lovely with a Tempranillo.
Here some simple steps on how to wow your guests with the ultimate cheese platter along with some tips on how to pair them with wines for a match made in heaven:
Step 1: The Strategy
A well-balanced cheese platter should include a mix of young, aged, soft, and hard cheeses (yes, we know that sounds like a weird, foodie orgy). They should be arranged in the order in which they should be tasted: from the lightest and youngest to the ripest and most intense.
Step 2: The Plan
Now that we have a layout strategy, it’s time to get more specific and pick your cheeses. Ideally, you should have at least one options from each cheese category on your platter. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Soft Cheeses: Brie, Camembert, Sauvagine, etc.
- Firm Cheeses: Gruyere, Manchego, Pecorino, etc.
- Aged Cheese: Aged Cheddar, Goat Gouda, Swiss, Parmigiano-Reggiano, etc.
- Blue Cheeses: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, etc.
Alternatively, pick one cheese from each type of milk – goat, sheep and cow – to make sure that several different cheese varieties are on your platter.
Step 3: The Support Team
In order to ensure the success of your key players, you need a strong support team. We recommend a handsome cheeseboard and knife set to show off your carefully selected variety of fromages. Cheeseboards come in all shapes and sizes. If you want to get all fancy, or don’t want to keep repeating which cheese is which, get a slate cheeseboard and write the names of each cheese under them.
Step 4: The Added Value
Now that you have your cheeses, cheeseboard, and knives in order, feel free to take it up a notch and turn your spread into an antipasto-style platter. Add olives, pate, tapenades, cured meats, and pickled veggies to create a restaurant-grade board. If you want to keep it simple, just add some grapes, dried fruit, and preserves.
Step 5: The Execution
Now for the good part: once you have the above in place, it’s time to pop some bottles. If you are looking to go big, offer your guests Champagne. The rule of thumb is Champagne goes with everything. However, if you are on a more modest budget, pairing the right wine can make or break your cheese tasting experience. To keep it simple, hard and aged cheeses pair well with reds while soft, younger cheeses go well with whites.
Step 6: The Results
If you follow the above steps, and have a little fun with it, we are sure you will be coined the wine and cheese guru of your circle of friends. Be sure to Instagram us your beautiful results by tagging us @ViewTheVibe!
Feature Image: One Bite More
How do you plan for an epic wine and cheese party? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.