How to Assemble the Perfect Cheese Plate
Rachel Miller A cheese plate from Wedge & Bottle.
I fell in love with cheese at my first job out of culinary school. In many restaurants, the pastry department is responsible for cheese plates, and Bouchon was no different. The first time I placed Humboldt Fog in my mouth, my world expanded. A whole new world of flavors and textures lay before me, each with a different story to tell through taste. Unusable scraps became snacks for the pastry team, slathered on warm croissants or scraps of bread.
I love putting together a cheese plate, be it for a party or just for my husband and me on a quiet evening at home. But where do you start and how do you begin to navigate your way through all the different cheeses out there?
Rachel Miller Krista Daily's cheese plate.
Krista's Cheese Plate:
Redwood Hill Farm Crottin - Tangy goat's milk cheese
Carr Valley Cave Aged Marisa - Hard Sheep's Milk Cheese
Sweet Grass Dairy Asher Blue - Salty Blue Cow's Milk Cheese
Virginia Chutney Company - Spicy Plum Chutney
Capistranos Bakery French Baguette
I headed over to Wedge & Bottle in Ahwatukee, a small cheese, charcuterie and wine shop, to chat with my friend Krista Daily about how they approach putting together a cheese plate.
The bottom line is that there is no wrong way to put together your cheese plate. It can be diverse or all your favorites. Make your cheese plate your own.
Vary textures. There are so many different textures for cheese. You may heard the words "soft," "semi-firm," "firm," bandied around at the cheese counter, to describe the texture of the cheese. Krista likes to vary textures on her cheese plate.
Variety of milks. A key element to the cheese plates at Wedge & Bottle are to make sure to vary the milks (goat, sheep, cow, or some cheeses have a mix of different milks). Each milk has different characteristics, and by selecting cheeses with different types of milk, it adds another element for your guests.
Create a plate with different depths of flavors. Even in a specific type of cheese, say goat cheese, there can be vastly different flavors. Krista likes to put together different flavors, mixing cheeses in different varieties that run from mild to stronger flavor.
I love the boards that Krista and Troy, her husband and business partner, put together, but there is nothing I love more than a board of all my favorites for a movie night with my husband.
Krista loves to add great addition items to the boards with chutneys, sour pickles, salty nuts, crackers or bread. Again, it can really be anything you love, and often tasting items to see what pairs, it can end up being that a complimentary item or an opposite item. For instance, a tangy goat cheese works well with a sweet jam or honey, proving the opposites pair well together. But then you could have a nutty sheep's milk cheese pair well with salty marcona almonds. It really comes down to tasting and seeing what you like to pair with each item on your board.