We suggest selecting about five different cheeses per cheese plate. Gathering various French cheeses on the same platter pulls together different tastes and textures and showcases the depth of the French Cheese families. Be sure to include hard and soft cheeses and include mild and strong flavors. In total, buy about two-to-four ounces of cheese per guest. It's best to include various milk types, such as an goat cheese and a cheese made from sheep's milk as well as cow's milk. Also include a bleu cheese and a brie to ensure the best variety. The different cheeses are shaded differently. They will add a sense of color and refinement to your cheese plate.
Select the foods you want to accompany your cheese choices. Different types of bread, such as baguette or flat bread, go well with all cheeses. Crackers are another classic cheese board choice - choose your favorite variety and don't forget to have different types for the different cheeses. Add some color with different jams and other condiments, spreads and honeys. Various cheeses have natural compliments for you to explore, such as apples and brie cheese - together they taste great and look even better on a cheeseboard! Add more color by including fruits and vegetables to your cheese plate - apples, pears and grapes work well. Presenting nuts can add further variety and snacking options.
Present your plate
Cutting your selected French cheese into different shapes and sizes is an excellent way to add pizzazz to your platter. Triangles, squares, rectangles and circles go well together, and you also can cut the cheeses into your own original shapes to add an artistic flare. The easiest way to ensure you have variety is to include different types of French cheeses, which often are pre-cut into various shapes like logs and wedges.
Try arranging your selected cheeses by the region in France they are made - our French cheese map shows where the different families of cheeses are produced. Leave the rinds on some and remove it on others to further vary the look of your offerings.
Pay attention to the actual plate. From glass cheese platters to sterling silver to wicker flat baskets you can easily cater your serving ware to the occasion - breaking out the antique silver platter can really add some elegance to a casual get together, while a less formal plate may help relax your guests at a formal celebration.
Small labels next to each cheese that include its name and milk type is a great way to add an elegant, educational vibe to your cheese board, making it more than just an appetizer.
Fine cheeses are best savored at room temperature - so take your French cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving. It's easier to cut cheese when it's cold, so cut them into the shapes and sizes you want before letting the cheese temperatures rise.
For ideas and recipes on specific cheese platters - Visit www.iledefrancecheese.com