Okay, forgive the title pun. What can we say—we just love cheese! This week’s Foodie Friday explores the art of entertaining with cheese. Whether you’re throwing a party, serving appetizers at a big family dinner, or snacking by the fireside, we have 5 top cheese-lover tips to ensure your spread is the best of the season!
1. Know Your Ounces: The Right Amount to Serve
If you feel clueless about how much cheese to buy, don’t worry! For most cheese platters, you’ll want to pick out 3 or 4 varieties of cheese. Too many options can overwhelm your guests! As for the specific amount you need, here’s a handy guide:
• If the cheese the main focus of the food (i.e. there’s not much else laid out),
allow up to 4 oz per guest.
• If it’s the primary appetizer, allow 2 oz. per guest.
• If there are several other snacks or hors d’oeuvre, allow up to 1 oz. per guest.
Be sure to use labels so everyone knows which cheeses are their favorites!
It may seem strange to think of cheese as a dessert, but there are plenty of delicious ways to feature cheese as part of your after-dinner treats! Try brie paired with honey and sweet crackers, fruit and mascarpone on toasts, spiced nuts with Parmesan, or sliced apples with Cheddar, to name just a few options. Sweet dessert wines like Champagne, rosé, or port make a delicious complement to cheese desserts.
3. Make It a Tasting Event
To really wow your guests and mix a little foodie education into your party, consider guiding your guests through a vertical or horizontal cheese tasting. To conduct a horizontal cheese tasting, choose the same type of cheese, such as a Gouda, and arrange them from left to right—least mature on the left to longest-aged on the right. You and your guests will enjoy tasting the flavor differences that aging brings!
To conduct a vertical cheese tasting, compare three different varieties of similar cheeses. Arrange them from mildest to strongest so that you can best distinguish the unique profile of each as you taste.
The right wine or beer can really enhance the taste of your favorite cheese. In general, wines should contrast and beer should complement the flavors in the cheese. Try pairing a citrusy IPA with a tangy goat cheese or a nut brown ale with a nutty sheep’s-milk cheese like Manchego.
A robust, aromatic Cabernet Sauvignon would contrast nicely with a smooth, sharp Cheddar. Or contrast the buttery, creamy texture and flavor of a mild Swiss with a fruity, light-and-sweet Riesling.
Holiday parties are the ideal opportunity to try something new and different. Why not try some delicious queso blanco dip for a Feliz Navidad celebration? Or you could treat your guests to decadent cheese fondue—a gourmet dish that doubles as a fun activity! Perhaps you love Old-World Italian cuisine, in which case you might indulge in a beautiful Parmigiano-Reggiano, Italian wine, and fresh pasta.
And, of course, for something a little weird…
Every year in Gloucester, England, cheese (and risk) enthusiasts from around the world gather at Cooper’s Hill for the annual Cheese-Rolling. The downhill tumble, along with a series of uphill races, pits reckless competitors against one another for the prize of a whole 9-pound wheel of Double Gloucester, awarded to the first across the finish line. Check out information regarding this haphazard event here and a very entertaining highlight reel here. Perhaps readers in the more snowy regions can recreate this competition for a Christmas contest—with a little more natural cushioning!
Happy Foodie Friday!