This happened to me.
Then this happened to me.
And if I were being honest right now, I would tell you I’m snacking on this while I’m writing to you.
If there were a food soundtrack for the warmer months, it would be cheese plate. All cheese plate, all the time. My ability to spend hours in the hot kitchen is in inverse proportion to how warm and nice it is outside. Raise your hand if you’re with me here.
There’s something elementally crafty about putting a cheese plate together, with the visual arrangement of color, shape and form being just as important as the balance of food items on your platter.
A few things I’ve learned along the way:
1. 1/4 of any particular cheese is always enough, unless you are feeding a ravenous horde that wants cheese and cheese only. Variety is all.
2. Keep a stash of dry fruit and nuts on hand to supplement your cheese plate. Those frivolous little cups and dishes you have sitting around without anything to do are perfect for corralling these items on the plate. Currently, almonds, dried cherries and walnuts have been making frequent appearances in my kitchen.
3. A bread/cracker item is the anchor of your cheese late. I use slices of baguette when I have one lying about, otherwise a good cracker will ably do the trick. No carbs in a pinch is also a totally valid option.
4. Trust your cheesemonger. I’ve got a bunch of cheeses that I know I love. Usually I’ll choose one or two and let those trusty folk at Murray’s round out the selection. The Kitchn writers have got it right – odd numbers are the way to go when filling out your cheese selection.
5. Something sauce-y, like chutney, jam or even some honey can really pull a cheese plate from a perfunctory nod to an experience. I’ve been lucky to have a steady parade of quince jam, mustard, rhubarb chutney (thanks, Matthew!), and some great local honey in my cupboards.
6. Bonus yourself. Yes, yes you have all the random bits, but do you have maybe some delicious salami? Or a small bit of really good chocolate? Maybe some fresh berries or fruit? Any extra little something feels like a nice little pat on the head. Good job, you!
If you are like me, please spend untold amounts of time arranging pieces just so on your plate. Sit. Breathe. Eat. Add some booze.