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29 June 2017

How to create and style the perfect cheese platter

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Master the art of creating and serving the perfect cheese plate at a party or for you and your family with these expert tips from Sileni Estates.

The options of what cheese to serve are endless – you can build a delicious cheese platter around any theme or as many styles as you like. You can, for instance, serve only milder cheeses that are soft and creamy in texture, or if you like stronger flavours choose hard, salty and aged cheeses. You can select cheeses that are locally produced or native to a particular country and build a theme around your cheese platter that way, or how about choosing your cheeses according to the type of milk they have been made of, such as goat’s cheese or sheep’s cheese? Whatever you choose, make sure you have a selection of different textures and flavours on your cheese board.

When creating your cheese platter remember to leave enough room between each cheese. This will not only make cutting the cheese easier for you and your guests, but it will also look visually more beautiful as you will have more room to play with accompaniments and serving platters. Let cheese sit to soften and relax in its wrapping at least for an hour in room temperature before serving - cold cheese will not taste much of anything and if you take your cheese out of its packaging, you might accidentally dry it out before serving.  

There are no strict rules for how much cheese you should be serving. Allow 150-200g of cheese per person if your cheese board is your main event, but if you are serving a cheese board as a post-meal dessert, 50-100g of cheese per person should be enough. If you have created a multiple course dinner menu for the evening and are planning to serve a cheese platter as well as a sweet dessert, it is best to serve in order of main meal, cheese platter and sweet dessert.

When you are plating up your cheeses it is good to leave cheese to soften and relax in its wrapping in a room temperature at least for an hour before serving. Cold cheese will not taste much of anything and if cheese is taken out of its packaging you might accidentally end up drying it out before serving. Each cheese should also have a different knife for cutting. If your cheese platter contains cheese with similar textures and flavours it will not be such a big deal if the number of cheese and knives will not match, but if your cheese platter includes cheeses with different textures and flavours, you will run into mixing the soft and salty with mild and aged together sooner than you think.   

Styling a beautiful dinner table with cheeses and accompaniments is easy and fun. Set a couple of cheese platters in the middle of your table and build table and serving wear around the centre pieces. You can select different sized and shaped breads, pile crackers, and decorate with fruits, nuts, pastes, honey and cured meats. Think about the versatility of pairing cheese with sweet speciality artisan breads, caramelised onion chutney, sweet dried fruits and colourful pieces of fresh fruits. Keep the rule of complimenting and contrasting flavours in mind - pair sweet and salty and crisp and creamy together and you will get heavenly matches and adventurous combinations.