Wine Friendly Cheese Platter

As you probably already know, Chris and I enjoy entertaining with wine and food and we strongly

believe no party is complete without cheese! We often order cheese platters out at restaurants to get ideas for presentations at our own parties. Since this weekend is our 4th Annual Wine and Food Festival, I decided to gather my thoughts and ideas about creating the ideal cheese platter for a wine event. Here are my guidelines and I think they will help you create a fantastic platter for your next party.

How to Create Your Own Wine-Friendly Cheese Platter

1. Select your Cheeses

Choose 3-4 types in varied firmness and flavor and milk source.

Cheese comes from cow's milk, sheep's milk, goat's milk or a blend of these. I like to choose one from each source to provide variety for my guests. I also like a range from soft to firm cheeses. Here are the categories I recommend and my favorite cheese suggestions within each category:

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Soft Cheese: Chèvre (goat’s milk cheese from WI) or Fromager d’Affinois (cow’s milk cheese from France)

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Firm: Manchego (sheep’s milk cheese from Spain) or Parmigiano-Reggiano (cow’s milk cheese from Italy)

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Aged: Barber’s 1833 Aged Cheddar (cow's milk cheese from   England)     

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Blue: St. Pete’s Select (cow’s milk cheese from MN) 

(If you are interested in tasting some of these cheeses, join us this Sat and Sun at 2pm for a free cheese tasting in our Belleville classroom.)

2. Identify Platter Partners

Choose 1 in each category.These items create a nice variety of textures and flavor from sweet to savory. They allow for an aesthetically pleasing presentation of the platter.

1. Bread or crackers - Our favorites: Stonewall Kitchen Sea Salt Crackers and/or Eckert's Bakery Farm Bread or Irish Soda Bread)

2. Chutney or preserves- Eckert's Chutney or Eckert's Fig Preserves or Eckert’s Pure Honey

3. Nuts  - Toasted walnuts or Marcona almonds

4. Dried fruit - Cherries, cranberries or apricots (cut in half)

5. Meat- thin shaved Volpi prosciutto, German Bologna or Eckert's Beef summer sausage

3. Select your Presentation Board

You can get creative here. I usually default to my favorite Boos Block cutting board. Boos are made in Effingham, IL and they are in many gourmet kitchens around the world! A classic white platter also makes a classy statement. I have even used pieces of slate I have picked up at the hardware store. Have fun picking out something unique!

4. Buy the Right Amount

At Eckert's Cheese Counter, we will cut as much or as little as you like. I like to plan on 3 ounces of cheese per person which usually prevents me from running out! 

5. Serve at the Right Temp

For the best enjoyment of the cheese flavors, remove the cheese from the refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

Eat well this winter, Angie