How to serve cheese
When planning to serve cheese here are a few questions and tips to consider:
How and when do I serve cheese?
How and when you serve cheese will depend on the occasion.
Here are some popular ways to serve cheese for a few or a crowd:
Antipasto style party platter
Served at the beginning of a casual meal, function or picnic, the Antipasto style party platter may contain cheese, olives, pate, dips, crackers, cured meats, pickled vegetables and/or crudités (vegetable sticks).
As a guide, for a large platter to serve 10-12 people include up to 3 cheeses.
Choose from Fetta (plain or marinated), Bocconcini, Goat’s cheese, Fruit/Savoury cheeses, Brie or Camembert or even a piece of Parmesan.
After dinner cheese platter
Serving cheese after main course and before dessert, is a great way to finish off the wine from main…and move onto the dessert wine!
For a sit-down dinner of say 4-8 people, select 3-4 different styles of cheese, place wedges or rounds on a large plate, garnish with a few simple matching accompaniments and partner with some crusty bread or crackers in a separate bowl or basket.
A single sensational cheese
Sometimes when a couple of friends drop in, or after an easy meal, all you need to do is serve one really good cheese (at room temperature!), with one suitable accompaniment and a matched wine, and your guests will be in heaven.
Cheese and Wine tasting
If you are holding a Cheese and Wine tasting, assemble cheeses on separate plates by style or region, with accompaniments including the recommended matched wine alongside. Arrange them in the order you plan to taste them – from mild flavoured to strong. Space them out on a large table or smaller tables around the room, allowing plenty of space for guests to taste, mingle and discuss!
Cheese plates for kids
Don’t forget the kids when putting party platters together! It’s best to pre-cut the cheese into slices, cubes, triangles or wedges for them, and add some colourful accompaniments for them to graze on, like cherry tomatoes, cucumber pieces, dried apricots, pretzels, celery sticks, pieces of apple, crackers or a bowl of dip. Also good as an after-school snack for a bunch of kids!
What should I put on a platter?
As a guide, choose a Soft White cheese, a Blue and a firmer style – such as Vintage Cheddar, Gruyere or Swiss-style cheese. For added interest, particularly if you are catering for a crowd, perhaps include a Goat’s cheese or Washed Rind cheese.
Now add your accompaniments –some fruit, nuts, crackers or breads and even some fruit paste.
Although what to put on a platter is only limited by your imagination and taste buds, here are some wonderful platter combinations of selected cheeses paired with suitable accompaniments to get you started:
Simple 3 cheese platter
- South Cape Brie with red grapes
- Tasmanian Heritage Traditional Blue with fresh pear slices
- Mersey Valley Vintage Club Cheddar and quince paste
Serve with crusty French baguette and crispbreads such as those made by South Cape.
- South Cape Persian Fetta (served in a bowl)
- Australian Gold Pepper Swirl cheese
- South Cape Bocconcini
- Sliced salami and/or prosciutto
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Gherkins or Cornichons
- Carrot, celery and/or red capsicum sticks
- South Cape Cheese Twists or Crisp bread
Cheese lovers platter
- Tasmanian Heritage Traditional Camembert with plum paste
- Heidi Gruyere with smoked almonds
- King Island Dairy Roaring Forties Blue with walnuts
- King Island Dairy Stormy Washed Rind cheese with fresh dates
Serve with finely sliced sourdough and/or fruit bread.
One special cheese
Place a slice of King Island Dairy Endeavour Blue on individual plates, drizzle with lavender honey and serve with a few prunes soaked in Port and some thin slices of Sourdough bread.
How much cheese do I serve?
In general, allow 20-30 grams of each cheese per person, but no more than a total of 100-120 grams per person
How do I prepare the cheese?
- Remove most cheeses from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving to allow them to come to room temperature. For whole wheels and large wedges, cut only what you expect to use and return the remainder to the refrigerator.
- Arrange them on the serving plate with accompaniments alongside but not touching the cheese. It’s best to use a larger plate that gives guests plenty of room to manoeuvre the cutting of the cheese.
- For firm cheeses served in wedges, cut a couple of ‘starting slices’ to prompt guests as to the best way to cut the cheese.
- Cover loosely with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap until serving time.
What sort of knives should I use?
- To cut a wedge of cheese from a wheel, use a large sharp cook’s knife dipped in hot water and wiped. Score the cheese rind or wax first and then gently rock the knife from front-to-back, applying pressure to evenly cut through the body of the cheese.
- For serving, whilst cheese knives are very handy to cut and extract a piece of cheese with the prongs on the end of the knife, a sharp knife will also suffice. A butter or pate knife can be used for softer cheeses. Marinated cheeses in oil can be served with a small fork or spoon.
- Remember to provide a separate cheese knife or utensil for each cheese, and encourage guests not to mix the knives to avoid mixing cheese flavours.