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5 Tips for the Perfect Cheese Plate

  • Cheese plates typically feature five selections. This average number best allows guests to remember what they’ve eaten (and helps you save space in your refrigerator).
  • With Italian cheese plates, have a sampling of cow's milk, goat's milk and sheep's milk cheeses. Guests will appreciate the variety and nuance, and a plate designed in this way will be authentic to those served in Italy.
  • Arrange cheese on the plate -- preferably with their names nearby -- from mild to strong. Separate cheese knives are important for not crossing flavors.
  • When choosing your cheeses, vary the textures and tastes. Choose something soft like a Taleggio or Fontina Valle d'Aosta, something granular like a Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, and something a little unusual like Ricotta Salata.
  • Go beyond crackers or sliced bread and offer condiments that complement your selection. Good choices are honey and berry preserves; toasted almonds and walnuts; slices of fresh pear and apple; and dried fruits like apricots or figs.