Pairing cheese with crackers or a cheese dip with chips is the traditional way to go. Some might also like to serve some fruit and vegetables cut into dippable shapes, with skewers to help the guests. whether you’re making a cheese platter for friends, guests, or a huge social event, there’s a right and wrong way to go about it.
Many people might be bored of pairing their cheese with just crackers, bread, or other traditional options. You might want to provide some unique choices in such cases. At the same time, you also want to make sure that you par the right kind of cheese with the right food item.
To make things a little easier for those with cheese-crazy guests, we’ll give out some cheese pairing tips below. Reading up on how to serve cheese is a good place to start, but you also want to know how to make up the best cheese platter with some unique combinations.
Suggestions for Serving Cheese on Any Occasion
Serving a cheese platter might sound like a supremely easy job. Many might think it simply involves slicing, dicing, or serving up cheese in wheel form with some accompaniments. However, there’s a little more to this than that. Below are a few tips that will ensure your cheese platter is up to the mark at all times:
- First, make sure that your cheese is at room temperature. Many of us might prefer storing our cheese in the fridge or the freezer. If that’s the case, take it out beforehand and let it warm up properly before serving. Room temperature will help you experience all the aromas and flavors of the cheese with the utmost intensity.
- It’s best if you label the different kinds of cheese, or at least identify what kind you’ve used on a little menu/label. If you’re using skewers or spoons for individual servings, you can have a tiny label on each one.
- You can also get creative with your labeling, using ice cream sticks, toothpicks, etc. There are several printables online that can help you get the perfect label without much effort.
- Have a different knife for each different variety on hand. Some people may not like blue cheese, and it would spoil the experience for them is the flavor transfers from one cheese to the other.
- The cheese should be arranged from the mildest version to the strongest. It’s best if you arrange them on a wooden serving board or platter.
Tips for Pairing Cheese
Here, we’ll talk a bit about some lovely pairings with cheese that will be sure to make your next party a hit. You might want to experiment a bit with these pairings beforehand; perhaps even get in a few close friends who are also cheese connoisseurs. This will help you decide whether the paring is right for your cheese platter or not:
1. Pairings With Feta
Feta cheese is a salty, crumbly white cheese that goes well with sandwiches, salads, and just about every kind of cheese platter. You can pair it up with some interesting sweet choices such as corn or watermelon. Both these choices might seem strange, but they do make a wonderful pairing with feta.
The natural sweetness of these two choices makes for a perfect balance when consumed with feta. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even try some caramel corn. if corn o the cob isn’t in season or just looks too strange for a platter, try making or buying some cornbread for a more filling option.
With watermelon, you get to enjoy the crunchy freshness of the fruit along with the unmistakable saltiness from the feta. You can skewer cubes of feta with pieces of watermelon as a kabob presentation, or simply have them together in salad form. Drizzle on some balsamic vinegar, and you’ll be sure to have a platter worth remembering.
2. Pairings With Brie
There are several items you can pair with Brie, though many would opt for a fresh baguette above all other options! This soft and creamy cheese from France is full of flavor and goes amazingly well with some tart apples. Green apples will be best here, so you might want to add some thin slices to your platter. Alternatively, pour some melted Brie over green apple slices for a more uniform experience.
Other great pairings with Brie include dried or fresh figs, even fig preserves. Spoon the latter over some brie and cut off a chunk for your guests. You can also try something different like grilling fresh pear slices, topping them with Brie, and drizzling honey on top. Add some candied pecan for that extra crunch. A soft-ripened Brie cheese like this one might be one of the best choices:
3. Pairings With Cheddar
The most classic combination is cheddar cheese with red apples. Many people might like to have some cheddar cheese with their apple pie or even use the two ingredients in a grilled cheese sandwich. With pairing purposes on a cheese platter, though, you want to perfectly balance the cheddar with options other than apples as well.
Usually, you want to counter the sharpness of cheddar cheese with a sweet apple slice. However, a tart item like cherries can also do the trick. Try it out with fresh cherries or even tinned varieties if that’s more convenient.
Some non0fruit options for cheddar might also be delicious additions to your platter. Smoke oysters are a surprising but delectable choice, with the smoky taste being great for older, aged cheddars. Fresh seafood might not be the best way to go, so be careful in this regard. When serving with oysters, you might want to consider a more medium cheddar like this one:
4. Pairings With Ricotta
Ricotta is a cheese that hails from Italy and is known for its soft, white texture. Get one that’s suitable for grating, which also means that it’s suitable for cutting into cubes or slices. This one might be a feasible option:
Many cheese lovers would like their ricotta paired with sweet options, so think about something like strawberries, honey, etc. You can cube the ricotta and cut the strawberries for some one-bit servings. Alternatively, it might also be a good idea to whip the cheese and make it a filling in some mini-cannolis with a dipping option of strawberry preserves.
You may also try pairing ricotta with some toasted points of bread or crackers. Drizzle some honey on these for a sweet experience.
You might want to consider some unique additions to your cheese platter as a whole, not just looking at one type of cheese at a time. We’ll give you some suggestion for this below, with some options contrasting with the cheese flavors and other matching them:
- Kimchi: This is a pickle that’s an everyday staple in many Korean homes, and is gaining popularity in other parts of the world too. You’ll be best off pairing this up with aged Alpine cheeses. Other fermented vegetables like cauliflower or carrots might also be great in setting off the nutty or creamy flavors of various cheeses.
- Different Potato Chips: Traditional potato chips are a common option on cheese platters, but you can change things up by opting for different flavors. Salt and vinegar, for instance, will give a lemony tang to your cheese experience.
- Dark Chocolate: Surprisingly, dark chocolate is actually a healthy option even for those who are trying to lose weight. You can impress some of your keto enthusiast guests by having some small cubes of dark chocolate as an accompaniment on the cheese platter. Very dark chocolate will go best with blue cheese, while slightly less bitter versions can be paired with creamy cheeses.
When assembling a cheese platter, we have to remember that versatility is the best way to go. Knowing how to pair the right cheese with the right food is best, but you can also simply arrange everything in an attractive manner and let your guests have their pick. At all events, though, you want to have a unique flair to your offerings as well as some classic pairings. Start working on your cheese platter and see how your knowledge serves you.