Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Creating The Perfect Cheese Plate + 7 Wines to Try

I absolutely adore a good cheese and meat spread.  It is hands down one of my favorite appetizers.  I honestly could have that for my dinner and be happy.  I often get requests about my favorite meats and how I choose cheeses for my platters so I thought I would break it down and share a few tips.

pictured above :  raincoat crisps, kalamata olives, rustic flatbreads, manchego, hummus with olive oil and pine nuts, salami, green hill cheese, sopressata,  comte, black truffle salami.

My cheese boards typically have 5 components:
1) meat 2) cheese 3) crackers 4) spreads 5) extras

I like to do 3 cheese and 3 meats typically.   
As far as meats and I can't stress this enough they are so much better if you have them freshly sliced.   The pre-packaged kinds are just not as good.   The deli counter at most grocery stores at least has prosciutto and salami options but if you can find a gourmet grocery go that route for sure!  In Charleston Goat Sheep Cow is my favorite and in Charlotte I love Reid's Fine Foods and Dean and Deluca.  They both have excellent charcuterie selections and the people that work there are super helpful as far as suggesting items that pair well together.

O N E | M E A T S

a few of my go to meats are:
Truffled Salami
Hard Salami

T W O | C H E E S E S
I like to do a hard, semi-soft and soft option

Hard cheeses 
Aged Gouda

Semi Soft Cheeses
Port Salut

Soft Cheeses
Blue Cheese
anything that says triple cream, usually the round cheeses

T H R E E | C R A C K E R S 
I like to serve 2 different cracker types.  
These are a few favorites but Trader Joe's has some great options too.

365 degrees (super thin)
Rustic Bakery Flatbread
Raincoat Crisps (these are salty date and almond crackers)

F O U R | S P R E A D S
I like to serve at least one spread whether it be hummus, or a jam for the cheese.  A few of my go-tos are:
hummus any flavor - drizzle with olive oil and add pine nuts 
fig preserves
Trader Joes sweet and spicy chili jam
pepper jelly
bacon jam (pairs great with pimento cheese)
truffled mustard (great with meats)

F I V E | E X T R A S
I usually like to do a pickled veggie or olive here.  
pickled okra
baby gherkins
salted marcona almonds
pitted dates
pickled asparagus, green beans, or carrots
cheese straws

It is nice to have fun serving knives.  I like to use a different knife for each cheese type I serve.
I like this set that comes with 4 different knives and a cute cutting board.
I love this gold set and they are currently 50% off.

W I N E 
Of course you need good wine with a cheese platter.  These are a few of my favorites lately.  I hate any wine that is sweet.  I prefer dry and slightly crisp.    I always like my roses to be lighter in color.  I find the darker ones are sweeter and more tart, which I really don't like.   As far as whites I like sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio in the warmer months.  I usually buy my wine in speciality wine stores they have a better selection and their prices are not as marked up as the grocery store.


cbonnell said...

Thank you!!! so helpful!

Caitlin said...

Such a great post! I could live off of meat & cheese plates, too. Thanks for all the great recommendations! I'm anxious for the weather to warm up here to pop some rose :)

Chicago Mom (Heather) said...

I always drool over your cheese combo plates! I love these suggestions. Thank you!

Aubrey Colvard said...

Thank you for this post!! Agreed, so helpful. Your cheese platters always look so good!

Georgia Glam said...

The top right Rose is one of my favorites!!!! You shared it last year and I remember coming across it at our local liquor store and I bought several bottles! Now I am thinking I'll have to add a cheese plate to Friday nights menu!

Lindsey McClure said...

Yum!! Thanks for the of my favorite wines is Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc...very light and crisp! ;)

Alexandra Bee Blog said...

What a great guide! I'm with you...I could make a meal off of a cheese & charcuterie plate alone! I'm actually hoping to do an easy picnic style dinner of cheese & charcuterie tonight or tomorrow night if the weather and Bryce's work schedule cooperates!

Cathy Reeves said...

Natalie, what kind of bacon jam do you use, or do you make your own?

Unknown said...

i'll second that Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Love the wine suggestions!