When it comes to a party, just about everyone loves the cheese board the most. Many people have asked me if there is a right way to serve cheese, and the answer is yes, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are my basic rules of thumb for choosing and serving cheese for your Cheese Course.
- Talk to the Heinen’s Cheese Specialist. Let them know how many people you’re having, if you prefer certain styles of cheese, and if you plan on serving cheese before dinner or after dinner. They receive regular education on what’s new and what’s hot in our cheese cases. And they love to talk cheese!
- Always, always, always serve cheese at room temperature. I usually take it out of the fridge at least an hour before serving, and in some cases I might leave it out up to 5 hours beforehand, especially harder cheeses.
- I encourage my customers to serve whole pieces with the rind intact and let their guests serve themselves. It’s important to have the right implements for serving cheese, so with an aged cheese make sure you have a sharp knife, where a soft, fresh cheese requires a spreader. You don’t need a fancy knife set; it could be as simple as using butter knives for soft cheeses, and a serrated household knife for hard cheeses.
- Keep the accompaniments at a minimum. Oftentimes, people think they need to have fruit, nuts, olives, dried fruit, crackers, baguette, etc. Serve a savory and a sweet accompaniment and let the cheeses be the star.
- Don’t get hung up on pairing specific wines or beers with certain cheeses. Pairings are so subjective that you can just allow your guests to make up their own minds as to what they want to pair with what.
Remember: our in-store cheese specialists can help you with all of your cheese questions and choosing a cool array of cheeses to serve. It’s all about having fun and enjoying the ride!
~Shannon Welsh, Heinen’s Cheesemonger