Making the perfect cheese plate

What better way to begin your night out than a cheese plate with the squad? So before we begin the fun, let’s lay down some basics.

A few things you should always keep in mind:

1) A plate should go from light fresh cheeses and end with more robust or harder cheeses. For example, start with a mozzarella or chèvre and end with blue or flavorful cheddar. Beers should follow the same route.

2) Blue should always come last. Blue mold coats the palate and prevents your tongue from enjoying the rest of your cheese.

3) Mix up milk types and flavor profiles. It is no fun to use the same as the tasting will then have a similar texture and flavor throughout. However, I can’t say I have never had an all cow or sheep tasting to demonstrate the spectrum of cheeses.

4) HAVE FUN!

The ideal cheese plate is somewhere between 4-6 cheeses so that you and your buddies can get a full fledged tasting experience. I’m going to outline a four-cheese and a six-cheese plate so you guys can play with the template. Here they are:

1: A fresh or bloomy cheese

2: A washed rind or semi soft

3: An alpine or a firm

4: A cheddar or blue

With a four cheese tasting you can play with what you like or take a broad stab at cheese as a whole. It’s a great experience for all those new to cheese or a way for cheeseheads to get out of their comfort zone. Next up is the six-cheese plate:

1: A fresh cheese with some swag

2: A bloomy goat cheese

3: A washed rind of cow or sheep

4: An alpine cheese

5: A cheddar or hard cheese

6: A unique blue cheese

Here, in this proposed six cheese tasting plate, it’s easier to move around milk types and styles. You have the opportunity to put in what you like as well as an experiment or two. Also, you can provide your audience with a spectrum of queso.

Personally, I like to begin tastings with a fresh cheese that isunique to the status quo. You don’t want a milky glob to start off your plate. I recommend Rogue River Up In Smoke, Mozzarela di Bufala or Burrata. All three are unique cheeses that will get your audience craving some curds. Then, I recommend a bloomy goat cheese to serve as a palate cleaner and to set up your guests for the washed rind cheese.

This way, the juxtaposition of a citrus tang with a funky fruity punch will leave your audience down for the count despite only being on cheese #3! With cheeses #4 and #5, you’ll want to sooth your crowd with the sexy smooth sweet lingering favors of an alpine cheese (Challerhocker, Ossau Iraty, or a Comte). Then bring ‘em home with a smoky, beefy and texture-focused cheddar. Lastly, to finish the journey off, serve a beautiful blue, such as Caveman Blue, Bayley Hazen or Blu di Bufala.

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