Making a cheese platter for a festive social gathering is a sure-fire way to impress your guests. Whether you’re entertaining a few friends or a whole house full of party people there are some essential components that you just need to get right. Le Cordon Bleu London has created this guide to ensure that this year, your guests remember your Christmas cheese platter for all of the right reasons.
It is always a good idea to have a variety of cheeses.
There have been many attempts to classify cheese over the years, with some systems concentrating on the production process and others on the texture, but to ensure that you cover a range of flavours, be sure to include a combination of soft and hard cheeses, aged and blue cheeses, and cheeses made from cows and goats milk to cater to the differing palates of your party guests.
Another top-tip to ensure that all of your guests leave happy is to include a familiar cheese such as cheddar or stilton, as there is bound to be a few people that are less experimental when it comes to their fromage!
Le Cordon Bleu London suggests using the following five varieties for the perfect cheese platter:
- Stichelton - This is an unpasteurised creamy blue cheese made from cow’s milk.
- Keen's Cheddar - This is a hard cheese which is also made from raw cow's milk and has a dense and rich texture.
- Berkswell - This is another hard cheese which is made from sheep’s milk with the texture ranging from smooth to slightly grainy.
- Ragstone - This cheese is made from raw goats milk, and has a fresh acidity with a light texture.
- Gorwydd Caerphilly - This is another hard cheese made from raw cow’s milk which will add a mushroomy flavour to your platter.
The accompaniments are almost as important as the cheese.
To accompany your range of cheeses it is a good idea to offer a variety of condiments such as sweet chutneys, tomato relish or caramelised onion chutney, different fruits such as grapes or fig preserve, and cured meats like salami or prosciutto. These small additions can make the difference between a boring cheese platter and a memorable party experience.
To make your cheese platter stand out even more you could serve a few baked goods alongside your cheese and chutneys that differ in texture as well as shape and size, to not only appeal to the palate but also to the eye. Crackers and breadsticks are commonly used although it is best to stay away from flavoured varieties as they can over-power the taste of the cheese.
The cheese should be presented in an enticing way.
Your guests will see your cheese first and foremost, and are likely to smell it before they even taste it! So be sure that these first sensory encounters are good ones. Firstly the type of base on which you arrange your cheese is important with a preference being for large wooden chopping boards and rustic slate cheeseboards which make for really stunning platters.
It is also important to consider the way in which you arrange your cheese and its accompaniments. Everything should be spaced out and presented in a creative way, ensuring that there is a variety of colours across the platter. Another top-tip would be to label the different cheeses to save you from answering the same question all night!
And lastly to give your cheese platter a bit more of a Christmassy feel you can use cherry tomatoes and rosemary to decorate your board for a savoury spread, or cranberries and rosemary for a sweeter platter, to mimic holly, and add a touch of magic to the festivities!
Why don’t you share a picture of your Christmas cheese platter using the hashtag #LeCordonBleuXmas on Twitter and Instagram.