Let’s face it—a cheese platter with a couple mismatched cubes of cheddar and mozzarella just doesn’t cut it! Rather than just serving a few hunks of cheese on a board, assemble a platter with knowhow and creativity and make it memorable for your guests’ eyes (and your Instagram feed). Using the advice below from Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski, you’ll be crafting your very own expert board in no time!
In the winter, choose different dried fruits and/or spreads to accompany each cheese. In the summer, use sliced fresh fruit and berries.
The sharpness of blues, from crumbly Stilton to creamy Danish to funky French Saint Agur, pairs nicely with sweet grapes, dates, and fresh or dried figs.
Chèvre (Goat Cheese)
You might find goat cheese fresh and rind-less on soft ripened with a thin edible rind, such as Chabichon du Poitou or Crottin de Chavignol. Drizzle fresh logs with good quality honey and ground or crushed pink peppercorns. If you’re buying the rind-on sorts, enjoy them unadorned, accompanied by dried fruits (apricots pair well), nuts, and/or crackers.
Vermont’s Cabot Creamery makes clothbound cheddar — it’s aged in cloth as opposed to wax, resulting in a drier cheese with a deeper, richer flavor. It’s fantastic with sweet spreads like pistachio butter or tart cherry or apricot preserves, and with Medjool dates. Cheddar is also great with savory pairings like cornichons and your favorite grainy mustard.
Emmental and Gruyère
These full-flavored, sweet but sharp, nutty mountain cheeses pair well with salted and roasted almonds, particularly Marcona, and cashews. Authentic Emmental (aka Emmentaler; Emmenthal) comes from Switzerland, but you’ll also find excellent versions from France (Emmental de Savoie, and raw milk Emmental Grand Cru, for example), and Germany. The best Gruyère cheeses come from Switzerland and Germany, as well as France, where Beaufort, Emmental, and Comté (aka “Gruyère de Comté”), are made.
From creamy, sweet Robiola Piemonte to funky Epoisse and everything in between, these are best with hunks of fresh baguette. Stinky cheeses vary in texture and intensity, and are made with a variety of milks. Get to know them by trying different sorts.
Calculate 57 to 85 grams of cheese per person. Select at least two or three cheeses, even for a small board. Think about texture, flavor, milk type, style, and level of funkiness; it’s nice to mix things up. You can put together a theme board (all cow’s-milk cheeses or Spanish cheeses, for example), if you like, or keep it super-simple. There are many ways to go and no hard-and-fast rules.
Find more recipes from Antoni’s new cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen.