How do I put together a cheese plate?
Our cheese counters are stocked with a dizzying array of cheeses—everything from perennial classics to special, seasonal wheels only available at certain times of year. But how do you choose the right selection for a fabulous spread that will wow your guests? Here are our rules of thumb to help guide you along:
Early Bird Gets the Cheese! Planning Ahead for a Party
Don’t be afraid to shop early to score limited stock cheeses—buy your cheeses ahead of time! If you follow the recommendations below, we promise they won’t go bad before the big day:
- Hard cheeses: Purchase up to a week in advance.
- Ripe, Soft cheeses: Purchase up to 2-3 days in advance.
Varieties and Quantities
If you’re serving a cheese plate of at least 3-5 different cheeses, plan for 1 to 2 oz per cheese per person. It all depends on the crowd, but you’ll generally want each cheese to be distinct from each other. Aim to combine different textures, flavor intensities, and milk types. If in doubt, tell your monger the number of guests you’re expecting and if they’re adventurous eaters. Then let our experts help guide your portions and selections.
After you’ve chosen your cheese line-up, have your monger suggest accompaniments that will pair well with each, or all, of the cheeses. We love condiments like mustard or caramelized onion relish, preserves like quince paste or fig jam, and some crunchy additions like candied nuts or artisanal crackers. And of course, you’ll never go wrong with slices of a crusty baguette or rustic country loaf!
Serving Your Cheese
At least an hour before serving, take the cheeses out of refrigeration and let them come to room temperature. This will allow their flavors to develop fully.
If you have any leftovers, depending on their condition, you may want to hang on to them to enjoy later. For more information on how to store your cheese, take a look at our next post, “How long will my cheese stay good?”