Select some semi-hard cheeses like a goat gouda and a blue camembert. Finally, I always have brie. Brie is a super must. Since I have my other cheeses displayed as is, I like to put carmelized onions over brie and bake it for 10 minutes so it’s soft and gooey.
Crackers are key to a successful cheese tasting. They all need to be interesting. Pass on the plain Ritz, Wheat Thins and other super snore varieties. Choose crackers that are chunky, seedy, grainy and some with unique flavors like wasabi or Trader Joe’s rosemary raisin crackers are always a hit. As just about everyone has a Gluten allergy (insert rolling eyes here), it’s also good to have a stash of rice crackers ready to go as well.
Do not match up your cheese platters. They must ALL be unique and if they are from your Grandmother or a thrift shop, then they are perfect. We’re going for pretty and unusual – not matchy matchy. Same with the cheese knives. Some nice French Laguiole knives mixed in with some funky yet hardy ones will make your display even nicer.
Regardless if you are using wood or glass, make sure your cheese is on a flat area otherwise the platter will wobble when guests cut the cheese. (Ha! I had to get ‘cut the cheese’ in there at least once).
In the picture above you’ll see a platter on the far right with smoked salmon and chopped fennel on top seasoned with herb salt. Clearly this is not a cheese, but salmon pairs so well with most cheeses and there is very little preparation needed. Again, this is a summertime ready to roll party. No one is hunkering over a hot stove here!
Enjoy your party and make sure to serve fun and refreshing drinks!