Whenever we have guests, which is quite often during the warmer months of the year, I’ll set out a cheese plate for hors d’oeuvres. It’s incredibly simple to unwrap some cheese and crackers, so I’m able to spend more time with my guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen fixing something more elaborate. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll add a spoonful fresh honey and fig jam, which takes just a minute more to prepare.
I’m a cheese person — I take cheese-making classes, I read a ridiculous amount of cheese news, I fantasize about working at Murray’s or becoming a cheese maker — and I love to put together a cheese plate with a theme for my guests. The plates might contain cheeses from France or all be soft cheeses or all pair nicely with a Riesling.
If you’ve never put together a cheese plate, but like the idea of a simple hors d’oeuvre, check out one of the following books for some inspiration:
- Cheese by Max McCalman.
- Cheese Course by Fiona Beckett.
- Cheese and Wine by Janet Fletcher. If you’re an iPhone user, download the Cheese Plate app that includes pairing ideas from the book and many more.
I also strongly recommend checking out the section on cheese in Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking for a basic introduction to the science of cheese.
Post Script: The image at the beginning of the article is of Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey, a wonderfully sharp cheese I’ve already included on three cheese plates this spring (an Irish cheese plate, a cheddar plate, and an infused with alcohol plate).