Tips for Serving Cheese
Whenever you serve a selection of cheeses - whether at a cocktail party or at the start of finish of a meal - a little extra thought and preparation will make your cheese course a snap.
Follow these simple guidelines and you can't go wrong!
Select Your Cheeses
Don't serve too many cheeses at a single event. Three or four cheeses are plenty - any more than that will just make things too complicated for most palates.
Variety is essential. Choose cheeses with a range of different tastes, textures and appearances. Include a soft, creamy cheese like Hudson Valley Camembert, a firmer aged cheese such as Comte, and a rich, tangy Blue.
Choosing a "theme" can help with cheese selection.
- Serve all goat or sheep's milk cheeses
- Showcase cheeses from a particular country or region.
- Treat your guests to your personal favorites, as long as you keep variety in mind
Select Some Appropriate Accompaniments
Cheese is only one component of an outstanding cheese course. Pair your selections with complementary or contrasting flavors - sweet, savory, salty or tart.
Take a look at our Cheese Accompaniments for ideas.
- Just as with the cheese, you'll want to select a variety of flavors and textures. Serve your accompaniments on the same tray as the cheese they are meant to complement, so your guests will know they are meant to be paired together.
- Select crackers and breads with neutral or complimentary flavors to go with your cheeses. Avoid any strong flavors that would overshadow the flavor of the cheese. Britain's Fine Cheese Company offers a selection of excellent crackers to go with all manner of cheeses. And you can never go wrong with the classic sliced baguette.
- Fruit and cheese are natural companions. Things like apples, pears and grapes are perfect accompaniments.
- Nuts are also good with cheese. Marcona almonds, hazelnuts and toasted walnuts are all wonderful on a cheese board.
- Full-flavored honey, fruit preserves & pastes, chutneys and olives can be good matches for cheese.
Cheeses and Wines
Perhaps nothing goes with cheese more naturally than wine. Since ancient times, wine and cheese have been considered staples of entertaining guests.
Don't be intimidated when trying to pick the right combinations of cheeses and wines. Just follow some simple guidelines and you can pair cheese and wine like a pro.
- Blue cheeses go well with sweet dessert wines like Port or late harvest wines.
- Fresh goat cheeses pair well with Sauvignon Blanc.
- Soft-ripened cheeses like Brie or Camembert go well with Chardonnay.
- Aged cheeses, such as Cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano can stand up to robust reds like Cabernet, Zinfandel or Syrah.
Serving Your Cheese
- Don't crowd your cheeses! Use a serving tray big enough to keep them from touching. Pick a tray with a pleasing color or line it with grape or chestnut leaves for a pleasant contrast of color and texture.
- Unwrap the cheeses and bring them to room temperature for serving.
- Each cheese should have its own knife. Soft cheeses can be served with a butter knife. Firm cheese should be served with a sharp knife.
While Tasting Your Cheeses
Encourage your guests to talk about the cheeses while they are tasting. Remember, thoughtful tasting of anything leads to fuller enjoyment and can reveal hidden nuances of flavor. Everyone will have a favorite, which can lead to some interesting conversations
Click here to see all of our Cheeses and Accompaniments