say "cheese"

Looking for an excuse to sip wine and feast on Gruyere? Follow these guidelines next time you are planning a cheese course for your party.

choosing the cheese.

  • Plan on serving from three to five cheeses. Anything additional is overwhelming to the palate. For each type of cheese, buy one ounce per person.
  • Aim for variety in taste, texture and appearance. An interesting selection might include a soft, mild cheese like a Camembert, a sharp nutty cheese such as Parmigiano- Reggiano, a blue like Gorgonzola, a pungent (a.k.a. stinky) cheese like Taleggio,  and a semi-firm, Manchego.

appropriate accompaniments.

  • Serve with with crackers and bread that don’t have very strong flavors that would detract from the flavor of the cheeses.
  • Snip a bunch of grapes into small clusters and pile them together to create easy-to-grab portions. Apples, pears or figs also pair nicely.
  • In separate dishes, you might also offer olives (kalamata, Nicoise, Spanish), pickled vegetables (gherkins, artichoke hearts, peppers), and lightly roasted nuts (walnuts, macadamias, almonds).
  • Offer guests a hearty snack to round out the food- a dried sausage like saucisson or sopresatta.
  • As for beverages, wine is a classic accompaniment. In general, fresh cheeses pair well with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir, blue cheeses with Sauternes and Port, and aged cheeses with Zinfandel or Burgundy.

serving suggestions.

  • Serve the cheeses on a tray or platter that is large enough to keep them from touching and has a contrasting background color.
  • Remove the wrapping from the cheeses, but leave on the rinds.
  • Serve each cheese with its own knife to avoid mixing flavors.
  • Bring cheeses to room temperature for optimal flavor – take out of the refrigerator up to two hours before serving.
  • Identify the cheeses. Note each variety.

adjective seating cards

The next time you plan a dinner party, try this on for fun: place cards with adjectives that describe your friends in attendance.  Kate Spade recommends putting a spin on traditional seating cards. Who needs place cards marked with proper names when a well-aimed adjective will do? Write out cards with coy, funny, nosy, flirtatious, bachelor, cunning, and quiet. Let your guests select their own places at the table.

What adjective would best mark your seat?

{image: martha stewart weddings }