You don’t need to cook in order to feed your guests. Just choose the best quality items for a simple, yet fantastic, cheese plate.
Fyi, you only need to serve one type of cheese...if it is good, no one will be less happy. They will be thrilled that you chose a great one and that they get to eat it. Trust me.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Wood chopping block to put cheeses and jam on...and crackers and olives too if you can fit. The more knotted and rustic looking the better. But even if its just a plain old wood cutting board as I often use, it will look glamorously delicious once we get it all decorated with food!
- Cheese: my favorites are always made from goat or sheep’s milk cheese but I have a few from cow milk that I also love for a cheese plate. You can always ask “the cheese guy” for a taste at any decent gourmet market.
- Manchego (my go-to) - Sheep
- Any Italian Sheep’s Milk Cheese, except Pecorino Romano - you want a touch less aged, i.e. softer...not super soft...but soft-er than Romano. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let it be. - Sheep
- Humboldt Fog - Goat
- Naked Goat - Goat
- Drunken Goat - Goat
- Boucheron - Goat
- Feta - Sheep’s Milk is my first choice or Cow’s Milk Feta
- Sharp WHITE Cheddar (don’t ever buy orange cheddar and double don’t ever put it on a cheese plate! Milk is not orange!) - Cow
- Fig Jam: (available at Whole Foods or other specialty shops) If you can’t find fig jam, use another high quality jam that you would never have put on a PB and J as a kid. You don’t want strawberry cheese...just a hint of sweet fruit with your cheese.
- Raw Honey*: if you can’t find fig jam or if you prefer. Raw honey will support the flavor of the cheese...regular honey will ruin it.
- Olives: from an olive bar at a specialty market (canned olives are cheap and taste cheap.) Put a little dish on the side for the pits!
- Crackers: there are many crackers that will go well, but far many more that won’t. Don’t use Ritz or any cracker you liked as a child. Look for a crispy, thin and rustic tasting cracker. My favorite: Mary’s Gone Crackers - Herb Flavor*
- Wine: Go for a Chianti, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, a Nebbiolo on a winter night, a Prosecco for a dry bubbly in summer or winter or a Sauvignon Blanc for a crisp nuanced white. Try D-Cantor Wines for online ordering of great wines at reasonable prices. Enter “elana” for free shipping under promotion code.
*You can buy these products online here.