How to prepare and design a personalized cheese platter arrangement
Sunny days are becoming increasingly numerous and so are your chances of finding yourself surrounded by friends sharing an appetizer, BBQ, buffet, brunch or light dinner!
Cheese is an unforgettable and a highly popular dish and is widely consumed in France whether it is enjoyed at a three-course meal or a snack on the go! However before you can savor cheese, giving it the attention it deserves, it would behoove you to learn about what proper French etiquette has to say about the subject.
A specific arrangement for every occasion
How you serve and arrange the cheeses on their platter varies depending on what you have prepared for the main dish and the composition of your meal.
When cheese is eaten as an appetizer it is considered to be an accompaniment to the meal. In this case you may serve two or three different types of cheeses accompanied by crudités.
If you are serving a cheese platter at the end of a meal, as a light meal or during a reception you should have at least three different types of cheese with different textures and various flavors. Feel free to mix and match but don’t forget to follow the most essential rule: choose at least one cheese from each category (hard, soft and crumbly) to make sure there is something to satisfy everyone’s taste.
Tips on making an aesthetically pleasing yet personalized cheese platter
When serving a cheese platter one must make sure that the cheeses are carefully arranged to enhance their visual appeal. Therefore it is very important to choose a serving platter or plate that highlights the visual appeal of the different types of cheese.
Feel free to play around with material, texture and color: marble, wood, ceramic or earthenware are a few examples of materials that will draw your company’s attention to the table or buffet as they gather to experience your personalized cheese platter. While gazing at your cheese platter food specialists will be sure to agree with the old adage “first you eat with your eyes and then with your mouth!”
Don’t forget to make sure that you have efficient kitchen knives to facilitate your guest’s overall enjoyment of your cheese platter. Specialized cheese blades are strongly recommended, even if a high-performing kitchen knife can do the trick, especially if it is adorned with the TB Groupe logo!
The creation of a personalized cheese platter: possible accompaniments
There are countless ways to pair a cheese platter with other types of food. Naturally, bread in all forms pairs well with all cheeses. An assortment of breads with different flavors and textures will enhance your platter: baguette, rye-bread, sour dough, walnut bread, Melba toast, crackers, white bread, etc.
You can also enhance your cheese platter with a few fresh fruits: green or red grapes, apples or pears are all appropriate choices. However avoid acidic fruits and citruses. Dried fruits like figs, prunes and raisins marry well with almost all types of cheeses.
Let your imagination flow but keep in mind one important rule, make sure that your accompaniments do not dominate the platter and do not compete with the flavor of your cheeses.
As for the wine, it is ideal for pairing with cheese! Consume alcohol in moderation!
Presentation and portions according to the number of guests
Service rules specify that hard cheeses must be placed around the outer edges of the platter, the most crumbly in the center and soft cheeses placed in regular intervals throughout the remaining space. Leave sufficient space between the pieces in order to keep their flavors from mixing.
Here is an estimate for portion size according to different types of meals that will help you plan ahead:
- Traditional sit-down meal: approx. 2 oz. – 2.8 oz. of cheese per person at the end of a meal. For 4 people get a minimum of approx. 12.3 oz. – 14 oz. For 6 people approx. 17.6 oz. For 8 people 21 oz.
- Cocktail party or buffet comprised entirely of cheeses: approx. 5 oz. – 8.8 oz. per person.
- A meal comprised of deli meats and cheeses: approx. 7 oz. of cheese per person.
- A cheese platter for accompanying a buffet: approx. 1.4 oz. – 2.8 oz. per person.
Cut all of your cheeses with ease by using TB Groupe knives!
Simplify the task of cutting cheese with TB Groupe’s different knives
Once your personalized cheese platter has been skilfully composed and displayed for your guests to admire, the moment has come to prepare the cheese for presentation.
The key to cutting different slices of cheese without destroying their form is to choose a kitchen knife that is specialized for the task. Knives with ergonomic handles are as important as the choosing of a good blade. This will insure that you have a comfortable grip and facilitate the job. We highly recommend this set of TB Groupe knives!
The essential tools
In the cutlery world there are three widely used kitchen knives for cutting cheese:
- The traditional double pointed knife: this knife has a curved blade for cutting the cheese; the points are then used to pierce the piece of cheese and place it onto the plate. This is the most widely used tool for cutting cheeses and is particularly well adapted for cutting soft cheeses.
- A thick knife or Parmesan knife has a short handle and is used for cutting the hardest cheeses. Its tough, short and thick blade is ideal for cutting hard cheeses as well as crumbly cheeses.
- The Graton knife has semi-circular scallops ground into the edge of both sides of the blade at regular intervals. They are used for cutting soft cheeses that have more liquid consistencies and keep the cheese from sticking to the blade.
Other kitchen utensils of equal efficiency
Wire Cheese slicers or lyres are often used by cheesemongers. These allow you to cut clean slices of a wide variety of cheese with precision: hard cheeses, blue cheeses as well as more soft cheeses and those with a more consistent texture.
Cheese lyres are used to make clean cuts of crumbly and humid cheeses. They are used to create thin slices that do not break.