Creating the perfect cheese plate

The cheese plate (or as the French would say, plateau de fromage) can be served as a meal, an appetizer, a dessert, or a snack anytime of day. Delicious and filling, it's also a celebration of flavors, textures, colors and aromas. Whether you include cheeses you already know or experiment with new options, sharing a cheese plate with others is a fun and relaxing experience. Follow these simple tips to make your cheese plate a success:

Cheese Plate Sections
Selection

It's about quality not quantity. Your cheese plate should showcase anywhere from 3 to 5 cheeses.

Plan on 4 to 6 ounces of cheese per person.

Choose a variety of cheese styles—from creamy soft to hard, and different milk types.

For peak freshness and flavor, shop for cheese close to your event.

Ask the experts for help. Your local fromager can suggest complementary flavors and textures to create a harmonious cheese platter.

In general, pair a mild cheese with a lighter, milder wine and a more robust, stronger cheese with a bolder wine.

Beer, cider, coffee, and liqueurs can also complement The Cheeses of France.

Presentation

Bring cheese to room temperature before serving (approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size).

Arrange cheeses in a clockwise fashion from mildest to most pungent and complex.

Pairing with Food

Slice apples or pears into thin wedges and arrange with selected cheeses.

Include figs, blackberries, golden raisins and dried apricots for a sweet, exotic complement.

Add a healthy crunch with a variety of nuts.

Go gourmet with quince paste, plum butter or chutney on the side.

Drizzle a little honey on pungent cheeses for a dash of sweetness.

Offer toast points, fruit and nut crostini or thin slices from a baguette.

Remember, the cheese is the star. If serving crackers, select mild styles that won't compete with the cheese.

Paring with Beverages

French wines, red and white, from the same region as your cheeses are a natural choice.

Ask your sommelier for pairing suggestions.

In general, pair a mild cheese with a lighter, milder wine and a more robust, stronger cheese with a bolder wine.

Beer, cider, coffee, and liqueurs can also complement The Cheeses of France.