Neha Manekia of Silverspoon Gourmet tells us how to put together the ultimate cheese platter
Can’t make up your mind if you need to slice your brie or bake your camembert; If you should pair the prosciutto with the olives? We got you covered. We roped in Neha Manekia of Silverspoon Gourmet to help us decode the cheese platter, one bite at a time.
Firstly, good cheese can be expensive so plan your budget accordingly (see our story ‘How to plan a party’). When buying cheese, sample everything first. You want to choose a few varieties that complement each other and sampling is the only way understand the flavours. “Typically three varieties of cheese is a good idea for a platter,” suggests Neha. Anything more than five will only confuse the palate.
Look out for different textures – plate a mix of hard cheese, semi firm, soft and creamy cheese. Brie or Camembert is a great choice if you prefer a soft, creamy one while cheddar or smoked Gouda is firmer and familiar to most. You can add a hard and sharp variety like Parmesan or Gruyere. 40-50 grams is plenty for a cheese platter.
The best way to serve your cheese is with an assortment of accompaniments. You need a good mix of flavours to create the perfect umami on a cheese platter. “Something sweet like a fruit compote, a jam or a preserve,” suggests Neha. You can also choose honey, grapes or thin slices of apples or pears. “Add to it something salty that is non-dairy like grainy mustard, pickled gherkins, olives or pickled veggies,” she elaborates, “and round off with something neutral with a crunch like plain crackers.” Plain sourdough or a baguette works well too but stay away from flavoured varieties like garlic and herbed breads. Remember less is more when it comes to variety of accompaniments and condiments as well. Too many flavours and choices will only overwhelm the experience.
Avoid using metal, instead a wood platter is perfect for plating cheese. Cut into slices, cubes and wedges beforehand and plate from mild flavoured to strong flavoured on the platters. Label the different cheeses with markers and put out small plates, napkins and toothpicks. Always let the cheese reach room temperature before serving. You can plate the fruit slices, crackers and breads on the cheese platter as long as it doesn’t over-crowd the plate but always keep the pickled accompaniments as well as the compotes, jams or preserves in different bowls next to the platter. If you are serving cold cuts as well, serve them separately.