Cheese is the ultimate holiday entertaining food! It comes ready-made, requires minimal fuss and its creaminess adds an extravagance to any holiday table. Your cheese board can be as simple as one cheese with a couple of pairings, or be more elaborate. Regardless of the occasion's demands, we have some simple tips and ideas to take your holiday entertaining up a notch or two!
Selecting the Cheese:
Offer a variety of flavours and textures. Soft, aged, smokey, sweet... On board in the image above, we chose our Holiday Brie (a bit sweet), Aged Cumin, Garlic & Fine Herbs (soft) and Ale Aged (a bit sharper). We served the Garlic & Fine Herbs flavour in a short, wide-mouthed mason jar. It gives the plate a bit of a rustic feel and it allows the cheese to take centre stage.
How Much is Enough?
Plan for three to four ounces per guest. That's about half a container per person. So if you are expecting eight people, four cheeses should provide enough for all of your guests to enjoy.
Offer a selection of breads and crackers. Make sure to include at least one gluten-free option such as rice crackers, Mary's crackers, or thin slices of apple or pear.
Choose two or three preserved condiments that pair well with your cheese selections. A few of our personal favourites are: Garlic Scape and Jalapeño Jelly from The Garlic Pantry, Pickled Beans from Top Shelf Preserves, Olive and Garlic Tapenade from The Garlic Box and Sun Dried Kalamata Olives.
Other sweet and salty foods pair well with your fauxmages as well. We love the Montrealaise sausage from Gusta, Yves deli slices or veggie paté. Dried fruit (like apricot or figs) go well with fresh grapes, and spiced or candied nuts add more interesting texture.
Label each cheese. Make sure you identify any major allergens.
Have a separate cheese knife for each cheese.
Place your fauxmage directly onto the cheeseboard from the refrigerator. They can soften and be a bit of a challenge to transfer onto the board if they've been out of the fridge for a while.
Serve the softer flavours at room temperature. The flavour is mellower and the texture creamier when they are a bit warmer.
Use layers and platters of different heights for interest and impact.
Feel free to decorate with flowers etc. to celebrate the occasion.
If you're having several guests put place the cheese platters on more than one table to avoid guest gridlock.