Among the many snacks and appetizers out there, cheese is one of the most delicious. Due to this, it has become very popular to serve cheese at events, parties, and other special occasions. You can serve cheese as a dish or an appetizer at parties, and it is quite fun and easy to do. Whether you need appetizers for a dinner party, Thanksgiving, or you have a few guests coming over for a special occasion, learning how to assemble a solid cheese plate and serving it well surely comes in handy.
If you are planning an event or a party and you’d like to serve cheese but don’t have any idea how to do it, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you the ultimate guide to serving cheese for parties.
Before you serve cheese, of course, you first need to buy them from stores. It is better if you can find a local cheese store in your area that sells high-quality cheeses. Here are a few tips we can give when it comes to buying cheese:
Ask for help or advice.
When you visit cheese stores, you will find a lot of cheese variations. You need to keep in mind that cheese, like wine, changes as it ages. It ripens and eventually peaks. Therefore, if possible, visit a store that features a good-sized cheese counter. You can ask the cheesemonger what is good right now and try to see if you can request a sample before you purchase.
You can get three different varieties of cheese to provide different options for your guests. You can try Goudas of different ages, cheddar, and cheddar hybrids. Doing this will make it more fun to compare and try them at a party.
Do not think too much about matching the cheese varieties.
When choosing types of cheeses to serve, they do not always have to go with each other or have a theme or progression. You need to focus on choosing the types of cheeses that taste good for you. If you plan to serve them with other food or drinks, there are some pairing tricks that you need to learn about.
The first is that things that grow together usually go together. This means that if you pick a cheese that originates from Southern Italy, then you can pair it with a wine or fruit from the same region. The second is that subtle wines work with almost all types of cheeses. The bolder the cheese, the redder you can go with your wine. And lastly, you don’t really need to always serve wine with cheese. There are other drinks that match well with them, such as beer.
Determine the amount of cheese you will be serving.
When buying cheese, it is also essential that you know how much you need. This will depend on the number of guests you are expecting to attend the party. If you are serving other appetizers, you can allocate around 1 to 2 ounces of cheese per person. But if the main appetizer at your party will be the cheese, then 2 to 4 ounces per person is good.
How to Handle Cheese Before Serving
After buying the cheese, there are some essential things that you need to learn in order to handle them well before you serve them at the party. Here are some of those:
Make sure that you wrap the cheese properly.
Buying cheese ahead of time means you need to store them at home for a while until your party. Therefore, you need to make sure that they are properly wrapped. Cheese that is wrapped in plastic will eventually start to taste like it. This is why fancy cheese stores usually scrape off or discard any cheese surfaces that have touched plastic before they serve it.
To minimize the plastic taste on the cheeses you bought, you need to remove the plastic once you get home. After that, rewrap the cheese using parchment paper or a cheese wrapper. Then, you can place it in a zip-top plastic bag before putting it in the refrigerator.
Do not cut the cheeses into cubes.
Some people prefer to cut the cheeses before serving them. This will make it easy for your guests to get them from the platter or cheeseboard. However, if you wish to cut the cheeses you will be serving, do not cut them in cubes. The flavor within a block or a wheel of cheese varies from rind to center. Therefore, each serving should contain some of the cheese near the rind and some near the center.
Instead of cutting the cheese in cubes, you can cut them in rectangular slices or small wedges that go from rind to tip. Make sure that the slices are thick enough for your guests to pick up with their fingers and sink their teeth into. Ideally, around ¼ inch is good.
Make sure the cheeses are at room temperature before serving them.
Cheese tastes best at room temperature. If you store them in the refrigerator, you need to make sure that you take them out about 20 minutes before serving them at your party. This depends on how hot the room is. If the cheese begins to sweat or look greasy, this means that it is getting too warm.
Arranging and Serving Cheese
When serving cheese at parties, presentation is very important. You need to make sure that the cheese varieties that you are serving will look appetizing to your guests. Here are some tips you can follow:
Place the cheeses on something flat.
When serving cheese, any large plate or platter will work. But if you really want to make the ultimate cheese plate or cheese board, then using a flat platter or board is great. This is because cheese look talker and more impressive on them. You can use rustic wooden cutting boards or pizza paddles. If you want to be more creative, you can also use pedestal-type cake stands, natural slate slabs, or marble pastry boards.
Always leave the rind on the cheeses.
Keep in mind that some cheese rinds are also part of the tasting experience. Other rinds, while technically edible, are not enjoyable to eat, like those that are coated in wax, very pungent, and very hard. Whether to eat it depends on your guests. But serving the cheeses with their rinds attached will help your guests distinguish one cheese from the next.
Make sure that you label the cheese.
Your guests surely will like it if they know what is being served at your party. Labeling the cheeses on the cheese plate or board will also help you avoid repeating yourself throughout your party. If you want to make it fancier, you can also note the kind of milk used, where the cheese came from, or provide a brief description of how they taste, such as sharp, nutty, or smoky. But simply labeling what type of cheese they are is enough.
Ensure that you place some cheese-cutting tools on the table.
For hard cheeses, serving them sliced or cut from rind to tip is advisable. This will make it easy for your guests to get them from the plate. For softer cheeses, a serrated skeleton cheese knife is a great choice. This knife has holes in the blade that will reduce drag. You can also use a cheese wire to portion very creamy cheeses like Camembert and Brie. For very hard or crumbly cheese, a paring knife can be used effectively to make natural shards or nuggets.
Garnish your cheeseboard or cheese platter.
To make your cheese plate or board look more presentable, you can garnish them with different foods like fruits and nuts. You can also place olives and sliced meats as they taste perfect with cheese. You can also serve bread and crackers together with your cheese platter.
Different Ways to Serve Cheese at Parties
There are different kinds of parties where you can serve cheese. With this, the style of your cheese platter should be appropriate for your party or event. Here are some of the different ways to serve cheese at parties:
Cheese and Wine Tasting
If you want to throw a cheese and wine tasting party, then you need to arrange different kinds of cheese in order. You can do it by style or region, and as well as their flavors which can be formed from mild flavors to strong flavors. You can also put accompaniments matched with wine. Put them on a large table where there is ample space for your guests to try out the cheeses and mingle with one another.
Antipasto Party Cheese Platter
This kind of cheese platter is usually served at the start of a casual meal or event. It may contain cheese, crackers, vegetable sticks, olives, and cured meats. There can be three types of cheese on this platter if you plan to serve ten to twelve guests.
After Dinner Party Cheese Platter
Cheese can also be served after the main course before dessert. In this type of cheese platter, you have the option to include three to four types of cheese. You can cut them into wedges and garnish them with some crackers and bread.
Cheese Platter for Kids
If you are throwing a children’s party, you can arrange a cheese platter for kids. When serving cheese to kids, it is better to pre-cut the cheese into wedges, triangles, or cubes. Then, add some colorful pairings like pretzels, fruits, crackers, and vegetable sticks.
Serving cheese at parties is quite easy, and it is also lots of fun. You just need to be creative in making your cheese platter look pleasing and appetizing for your guests. Also, make sure that you choose the best-tasting and high-quality types of cheese to satisfy the guests at the party. We hope this guide helped you learn more about serving cheese for parties.
For more information about cheese snacks, you can also check out the following articles: