Cheese trays are such a delight to create. Deciding on the cheese to serve is only half the fun. I love exploring new varieties but always leave room for one or two of my revered favorites. I almost consider cheese to be its very own food group. What could be better than a great bottle of wine, a baguette and cheese!
When surveying the cheese counter, I think about varying the flavors and textures. Then I imagine how each cheese will pair and mingle with other accompaniments, such as fruit, nuts, bread or crackers.
Representing the world of cheese is white cheddar from Ireland, aged gouda from Amsterdam, comté from France and blue cheese from Wisconsin. Yum! The presentation sometimes varies depending what the cheese will be served on and how many guests we will be entertaining. On occasion, I use a platter for a really large spread, however slate, marble and wooden cutting boards all work nicely.
On the marble tray, I arranged the four cheeses. Next to the blue cheese is a dollop of fig preserves. This is pairing at its best! The sweetness of the preserves and the strong flavors of the blue cheese are a delightful combination.
As I said before, picking out the cheese is only half the fun. The sliced pears and apples taste fresh and crisp when paired with the savory aged gouda and sharp cheddar. The spicy pecans compliment the creamy flavor of the comté sprinkled with celery salt. For the sweet-n-sour lover are dried cranberries. And just in case someone wants chocolate (mainly me) I added some m&ms. (I see nothing wrong with that!)
Served on slate is a peppered salami with two types of mustard and flat bread crackers. I find that salami is an interesting contrast to the cheese flavors. Usually, I let the salami and cheese hang out together on the tray, however this time I simply ran out of room.
Make it simple or make it grand, and see how many ways you can enchant your family and guests.