...this week, Carole's asked us to share our ten favorite cheeses. Scrolling through my photos and previous blog posts, I don't see a lot of "just" cheese, but there are a quite a few cheese plates. Including this one, from last May's visit to Florence.
A cheese plate is one of my favorite things to order out...and make in. So I'm expanding on Carole's topic to list ten things that make my perfect cheese plate:
1. a good platter. my favorites include a wooden tray, an ironwork tray with a glass bottom and a slate tile.
2. an assortment of cheeses. hard and soft. cow, sheep and goat. mild and strong. spicy and sweet. my go-to's are an extra sharp cheddar and/or manchego, a blue and a semi-soft, like a fresh goat cheese, maybe rolled in herbs.
3. fruit. grapes. pomegranate seeds. apple or pear slices, especially nice with a fresh goat cheese or creme cheese, like brie or camembert.
4. greens. I shared an amazing plate last week that had a tiny mound of spring greens tossed with the lightest vinaigrette. loved the fresh healthy tastes. (especially on a cheese plate :-)
5. olives. salt goes so well with cheese. and fruit.
6. nuts. marcona almonds are my all-time favorite. with walnuts, regular almonds and lightly toasted pecans coming second. the key here is to balance salty/sweet with the rest of the plate.
7. bread. thinking of this broadly to cover crackers and toasts and crisps... the crisper the better, in my opinion. and I love mixing savory and sweet here, too.
8. condiments. fig jam (awesome with manchego), cranberry compote or another savory jam. that amazing plate from last week also included pickled radish. and a house-made coarse mustard.
9. wine. of course.
10. friends. the best cheese plates have a lot of variety, which means larger quantities. and really, all food is best enjoyed with friends...and wine!
And there you have it...at least my version of it. I'd love to hear what you'd do differently. Any and all suggestions welcome!
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