Image from The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook
An Elegant Cheese Tray
I happen to love a beautiful cheese display. The type that is so artfully arranged you are just drawn to it. Here are some tips for choosing cheeses and creating a dramatic presentation that will impress your guests.
- Find a great local cheese shop and get to know the staff. Cheese, like wine, can be intimidating, as there are so many different kinds and they don’t all pair well together. By finding a good local shop you can get to know your cheese purveyor and he/she can guide you in your selection process. Living on the shoreline of Connecticut, I use The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook.
- Have three to four cheeses for guests to select from. I always like to have a brie style, a goat (my favorite is Humboldt Fog), a hard cheese and a blue cheese.
- Never pre-cube cheese as it allows the pieces to dry up. Present the cheese in whole pieces with the rind partially removed.
- Arrange both sliced breads and crackers around the cheese so that guests can have different textural experiences.
- Include a selection of dried and fresh fruit on your display. Dried apricots, fresh strawberries and green grapes look lovely together intermingled with the cheese.
- Always use cheese papers so that your guests know which cheese they are eating.
- Have a different cheese knife or spreader for each cheese so that the flavors do not intermingle.
- Add a fruit jam or acacia honey to the display to take the flavors to another level. A little honey spread on a young Parmesan cheese is amazing!
- Be creative, and remember that to add visual interest and draw your guests’ eyes to the display, your largest fruit (such as a large bunch of grapes) should be placed off-center.
If you live on the shoreline of Connecticut, I urge you to stop in to The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook and speak with Paul Partica and his staff. They are truly experts in their field, and love to welcome patrons in to sample some of the many, many varieties of cheese they offer. In addition to the chesses, they offer a wonderful array of charcuterie, spreads, jams, olives, coffee, breads and more.