Party Pointers: Serving Cheese Courses to Your Guests

Ever wondered about the proper etiquette on serving and eating a cheese course? Well, here are some pointers to know about serving cheese courses to your guests :

  • A cheese platter should contain a minimum of three cheeses. The cheese course could be eaten following the main meal or before dessert if you’re trying to be fancy.
  • Cheese should always be cut fresh. When cheese is exposed to air, oxidation and drying occur, along with dispersion of the cheese’s aroma. Should you choose to serve leftover cheese, be sure to trim them carefully.
  • Serve cheese at room temperature. People often make the mistake of serving cheese cold. When cheese is refrigerated, the cold tempers the aroma and flavor. Take the cheese out of the refrigerator for an hour prior to serving, so it can achieve room temperature.
  •  Use a separate knife for each cheese. When slicing cheese, use a separate knife for each cheese or wipe your knife clean after each cut (especially if you’re cutting gooey cheese). A clean knife will keep up the appearances of your cheese and will help avoid muddling the flavors of the cheese selection.
  • Slice up small, even wedges of cheese. Cheese should be sliced into small, even wedges with some of the rind still attached. This can be difficult (or impossible!!) with crumbly or soft cheeses. Just try.
  • Serve cheese on a regular dinner plate. You’re supposed to use a regular dinner plate when serving cheese as a course in a meal. You can use any pretty platter if you are serving the cheeses as an appetizer course. Serve cheeses on a round tray or wheel, arranging clockwise from 6:00 from the sweetest to the strongest cheeses. Serve sweeter accompaniments, such as figs, with the stronger cheeses to get some agre dolce flavor. If serving Parmigiano-Reggiano, drizzle with a couple of drops of aged balsamic vinegar to enhance the flavor. Serve stronger cheeses with lemon and orange wedges to enhance the flavors.
  • Serve cheese with classic baguettes, Tuscan round and flatbreads. Don’t be afraid to incorporate fruits like melon, apples, figs and pears. If you’re going the extra mile, add thinly sliced meats like Italian prosciutto, capicola or salami.
  • Candied almonds or other candied nuts are an accompaniment with a sweet, salty crunch. Warm pistachios are also ideal to serve.
    The most elegant thing you can serve with a cheese course is a bowl full of warm pistachioes.
  • A good wine choice is a Riesling—its brightness and tang offer a nice contrast to the richness of cheeses. If you seek red, try a cru Beaujolais, a lighter-style fruity red that’s cheese friendly. Champagne always works wonderfully, too.

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