How not to Create the Perfect Cheese Plate
Have you ever hosted a drinks party, work function or dinner party where a Cheese plate seemed like the perfect way to Wow your guests?
Maybe you chose the Aussie option and presented that perfectly curated “around the world in 13 tastes, cheese plate” as an entree.
Or perhaps you went all European and keep the soft, squishy stuff as the grand finale to your Pinterest-picked three course meal.
Yes, when we travelled through Paris everyone served their cheese course after the dinner. It aids with digestion, don’t you know? No one in their right mind would eat cheese until after the dessert.
Seeing as I am not in my right mind, I eat cheese whenever I please, making me the perfect person to share top tips for the perfect cheese plate (for parents).
- Chose at least three different styles of cheese. Preferably one soft, one hard and one blue cheese. Spend hours thinking about what is really “hot” right now and then drive to some far off, tiny shop in a tree-lined street without any parking. Have the cheese lovingly wrapped in plain brown paper before being transported back home to your own neighbourhood, ready for your dinner guests. Be careful of the culture shock, it can make cheese shrink.
- Make sure the cheese reaches room temperature before the guests are ready to eat it. In Australia in Summer this will mean keeping a small silver plated pair of tweezers on hand for picking out bugs and removing dead flies. Tip: watch the cheese constantly. No talking! Perfectly gooey is close neighbours with warm, gross cheese with a wobbly crust. Do not let it cross that line!
- Accompany the cheese with some bespoke, Australian, hand-reared, olives and then watch as your best friends toddler devours them all before any other adult even cops of glance at how organic they are. Oh yeah, then listen for 5 minutes while your friend tells you how little Johnnie just loves olives. Nod and make impressive faces like your friend has just told you Johnie has just composed his first violin concerto.
- Include a dairy free, nut free option, like maybe clumps of cold rice. This way you will not have to exclude any of your intolerant friends, whilst also demonstrating how exceedingly tolerant you are. It would be offensive to present something to people that they might not love to eat. Almost like saying you hate them. Warning: do not ask them why they don’t eat cheese as your dinner party may as well be over if they start talking about that.
- Include a different cheese knife for each style of cheese, because only a fool would eat three different cheese with the some width-ed knife. Try not to scream when Aunt Joanne mixes them all up and starts covering that cave matured camembert with the pungent/ bordering on rank, blue.
- Make sure you offer your guests a perfectly matched drink to accompany their cheese. But don’t get all grumpy when they refuse to imbibe your chosen tipple. A perfect host is never bossy and maybe “Bundy and Coke” goes perfectly cheese, in another culture.
- By the time you return from the kitchen with 15 different varieties of drink, there will be no cheese left. Even though you spent weeks thinking about this cheese plate, and days preparing it, you must not cry. Yes, still no screaming either. Your best friend may have decided this was the perfect opportunity for her eldest child to try blue cheese for the first time. They would definitely have spat it out, so if you are really desperate, try eating that.
- A little bit of fruit is the perfect accompaniment to cut through the richness of the cheese. Prepare a plate of apple, thinly slice pear and and a selection of grapes. Take them all straight to the children because the adults will never be quick enough to eat that crisp, sweet, goodness. Best to give up from the beginning.
- Ensure there is enough cheese for everyone present. Don’t cry when the little child from next door cuts gigantic wedges out of your cow’s milk triple cream and washed rind cheese, that is worth more money per 100 grams, than your car. Try to smile indulgently at him like his Mum is doing. Warning; this will be harder than you think. Practise in the mirror before your guests arrive.
- Ensure you provide a selection of Lavosh crackers and sour dough breads for people to eat with their cheese (preferably home made). These will be perfect to you to snack on as you spend the rest of your night cleaning and searching your house for cheese smeared on your furniture and crackers crushed into the floor.
On second thoughts, go to Coles, buy a triple pack of Homebrand Brie and plonk it on a huge white platter. Add some plain crackers, some grapes and if you are tres sophisticated, a Maggie Beer fruit paste.
Plonk it on the table and watch it disappear.
Enjoy your brown paper and string wrapped cheese on your own the following night, while reading a good book.
Now that’s a party!