After braving the act of cheesemaking, it is time to share your homemade cheeses with family and friends. Follow these tips to present your cheese in the best possible light, for amazing flavor and attractive appearance.
Tips for Serving Hard Cheese
- To serve a firm cheese such as cheddar or Gouda, bring the cheese to room temperature (about 72°F) before slicing or serving, to ensure that the flavors are prominent.
- Serve cheese on marble or clean, cool glass, to prevent the cheese from picking up any off flavors from wooden or plastic boards.
- Slice cheese into bite-sized pieces. Provide a clean wire cheese cutter or a narrow cheese knife for self-service.
- To keep things simple, it is better to slice the cheese beforehand. Use a covering like a glass dome or a sheet of clear plastic to keep the cheese from drying out before consuming.
- Provide toothpicks or tiny tongs for picking up the cheese.
Tips for Serving Soft Cheese
- Soft cheeses such as chèvre or paneer should be chilled slightly before serving, to prevent them from ripening and separating.
- Serve soft cheese from glass or other non-porous container. A small glass bowl is perfect for soft cheese presentation and tasting.
- Keep a cover over the soft cheese when it is not being served in order to keep the cheese cool and keep out bugs and dust.
Accompaniments to Cheese
- Pair cheese with other delicious flavors like bread, fruit, nuts, or honey. Cheese and crackers is a traditional treat, but if cheese is served with wine or beer, provide bread in place of crackers. The yeast in warm, soft bread will complement the beer or wine most divinely. Try a bread such as ciabatta or a sourdough baguette, torn into small pieces comparable in size to the cheese slices. Experiment with flavors and find your favorites.
- If fruit slices will accompany the cheese, apple and pear are great choices with soft cheeses or mild hard cheeses. Stronger fruit flavors like grape or peach pair better with strong, crumbly, and pungent cheeses. The fruit flavors shouldn't overtake the cheese; rather, they should complement and add to it.
- Nuts add flavor to soft cheese, either chopped and stirred into the cheese or sliced thin and served on the side.
Try everything yourself when compiling a cheese platter, to discover foods that work well together. There are many possibilities, so make it fun and make it yours.