On Saturday night we hosted our first dinner party here at the condo and invited my friend and coworker, Andrea and our neighbor, Ken for an evening of good food and drink. I was able to begin practicing on an endeavor that I hope to become proficient at…the art of the cheese plate. I did copious amounts of research on how to select and present the cheese and I wanted to share a bit of what I learned here on the blog. In the end, however, as with pairing wine and beer it really comes down to personal preference…Don’t be afraid of choosing the ‘wrong’ cheese…if you like it, it must be right!
For my cheese plate I chose three cheeses: a fresh garlic and herb goat cheese, a cave aged Gouda, and a cow’s milk blue cheese. I stuck with three cheeses because I didn’t want to have too much cheese for four people. (A good rule of thumb is to serve 1-2 ounces of cheese per person.) If I had selected a fourth or fifth cheese it would have been a sharp cheddar or Parmesan. The textures, tastes and aromas of cheeses are at their best at room temperature, so be sure to take your cheese out of the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before serving.
I served the cheese with plain crackers so that the cheese would be the star. On the side, I served mango chutney, Kalamata olives, and fresh green grapes. Be creative with the accompaniments…I loved how the chutney and olives brought out different flavors in the cheeses.
Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Benjamin Vineyards Winery Chardonnay
North Carolina, Unoaked 2008
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
We bought this wine at a farmer’s market in North Carolina last year and it turned out to be a successful pairing for the various cheeses. It is aged in steel barrels so it has a very clean, crisp and bright finish that contrasted well with the richness of the cheese.