Create a cheese plate for any occasion at home:
Choose your cheese
A basic cheese platter should have a minimum of three types of cheese representing each of the different milk types: cow, goat and sheep. Flavour and texture should always be considered. This basic platter features mild-to-medium flavours, though the textures are all different.
Cow’s milk: Gruyère
Gruyère has a hard texture. It is often available in sturdy wedges that can be made to stand upright to add height to the platter.
Sheep’s milk: Feta
Feta has a semi-soft texture. Its sharp flavour and crumbly texture will add variety to the platter.
Goat’s milk: Capra Fresca
Goat milk’s cheese has got a creamy and soft texture. The flavour is mild and it can also be spiced with black pepper or chillies.
Presentation and garnish
Set a cluster of grapes in the middle of a round platter. Then place the three cheeses around it. Arrange the cheeses so that the rind on the end is closest to the middle of the plate. This way, the part of the cheese wedge that people will cut into will be facing them. Crackers can be set on the platter too, or placed in a bowl or basket next to it. Sweet and sour fruit compote or honey will compliment the cheeses nicely.
—Set the cheeses out half an hour before eating to bring them up to room temperature.
—Put out a separate serving knife for each cheese. Or, put out one knife for the Gruyère and Feta, and a separate knife for the Caprino goat’s cheese, which is softer.
Any kind of bread goes well with cheese as long as its taste does not overwhelm the taste of cheese. Select bread according to textures as well. Dark rye bread with Havarti or feta, or nut bread with a blue cheese provides an interesting contrast in texture. So does a crisp, salted cracker with a soft cheese.
Touch of the unusual
Different sweet and sour combinations will compliment most cheeses. Try chilli jam* with feta, gorgonzola with honey* or goat’s cheese with fig compote*.
Fresh fruit is ideal to cleanse the palate. Dried fruit like figs, prunes and raisins are ideal with most cheeses.
*Available at The Oberoi Patisserie and Delicatessen, New Delhi
Extracted with permission from Envoy, The Oberoi, New Delhi’s newsletter (July-September 2009). Visit www.oberoihotels.com