Building a Cheese Plate
When you come into our store or if you give us a call, we are happy to help you design a cheese plate that will fit your audience, your tastes, and your budget. Designing a cheese plate from our online selections may be less personal, but follow these general guidelines for consistently excellent results.
- Go with what you like! If you don't like tangy goat's milk cheeses or spicy blue cheeses, don't worry - you can still put together a remarkable cheese plate without these styles of cheese. In Europe, the cheese course is traditionally served after the entrée and before dessert, but we encourage you to eat cheese whenever you want: before dinner, after dinner or even as your main course! If you want to eat the rind, go ahead - if not, don't. Rinds can bring subtle flavors and textures to the cheese, which might add or detract from the flavor and texture of the interior (known as the paste) of the cheese. Follow your instincts when it comes to pairing cheese with accompaniments. We're more than happy to suggest pairings with your cheeses, and there are some pairings that are a home run every time (Comté and apples, Pyrénées Brebis and black cherry preserves, Twig Farm Goat Tomme and an herbal honey, Époisses and Gewürtztraminer). We suggest making note of pairing advice and moving ahead on your own process of discovery to find pairings that you love. Experimenting with pairings is one of the great joys of learning about cheeses and their many accompaniments.
- Choose quality over quantity. Your palate has a better chance of keeping up with your appetite if you have a smaller selection rather than a larger selection. We recommend constructing a cheese plate of at least three and no more than six cheeses.
- Variety is the spice of life! Unless you are interested in focusing on one particular type of milk, we like to mix up the offering a bit with a cow's milk, goat's milk, sheep's milk, and maybe even a cheese made with a mixture of milks. We also like to vary the cheese styles, textures, and country/region of origin. For example, we might have a fresh ripened chèvre, a soft bloomy-rind cow's milk cheese, a soft washed-rind sheep's milk cheese, a hard cow's milk cheese and a mixed-milk blue cheese for a cheese course. This is just one approach we take with our cheese samplers and our customers are consistently happy this variety of cheeses. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
- Know your audience. We carry cheeses to suit many palates and when building a cheese plate, we suggest that you consider what your guests might appreciate. If it is an adventurous crowd, pick cheeses with more pungency and flavor and perhaps some cheeses that you've never heard of. If your crowd is more conventional, choose familiar styles such as Brie, Cheddar, or Gouda, and throw in one more obscure cheese that push your audience's boundaries a bit.
- Read our descriptions. Food is often more fun when you know a bit about the region from which it hails, how it's made, and perhaps some of its history. We take time to write our descriptions with you and your guests in mind. Browse through our descriptions, and please feel free to call us at the store or send us an email if you have any questions. Our passionate cheesemongers can talk about our cheeses for hours, if you let them...
- The most important rule for putting together a cheese plate: have fun! All of us at Formaggio Kitchen believe that cheese is one of the most fascinating foods in the world. Assembling a cheese plate from our well-curated cheese selection should be as exciting for you as it is for us.