How much to serve?
All will depend on how hungry your guests are and the scope that cheese will take in your menu!
For a cocktail tray, count on around 70 grams (1/8 lb) per person.
For a cheese course, count generally on one slice of cheese per person, or 50-100 grams (1/10 – ¼ lb) per person.
For a wine and cheese menu or a buffet, count on around 150-200 grams (1/3 – ½ lb) per person.
For a wine, cheese and charcuterie menu, 100-150 grams (¼ – 1/3 lb) per person should be enough.
How to Choose Cheese?
Ideally, get your cheese from a professional cheese seller for the best quality and aging to your taste.
- Serve cheeses from different families and made with different types of milk.
For example, you could choose a hard rind, a washed rind, a flowered rind, a goat cheese, one made from ewe’s milk and a veined cheese.
- Choose cheeses in season—ask your cheese seller to help you.
- Play with different shapes and colors.
- For a complete meal, during the holidays for example, don’t hesitate to offer just one high quality cheese: a brie or a comté, for example, are many people’s favorites. At Christmas, you could also serve a vacherin paired with a wine from the Arbois region, thereby reducing the number of different rich flavors your guests will be faced with during their holiday meals.
- Depending on your budget, you could moderate the price of your tray by balancing the price of one cheese versus another.
- Protect your cheese when you transport it and also from temperature extremes when you arrive back home—or during long shopping stopovers. Keep it cool when you arrive back to stop the cheese from aging even more.
How to Present your Cheeses?
- Display your cheeses by using natural ingredients: wood, marble, slate, glass, straw, leaves rinsed in vinegar, edible flowers, dried fruits and nuts, small vegetables, fresh or candied fruit, and so on. The seasons can make for a great source of inspiration!
- Ask your cheese seller for the order of the cheese’s intensity, which should be the order in which you serve them. Why not suggest this same order to your guests so that they can taste them “in order” according to what they like? Some guests may only enjoy mild cheeses, others only the aged ones, and the foodies will of course taste them all!
- To set your cheeses out, you can use this order clockwise. You can also play on the shape of the cheeses, the smallest in front and the largest in back, or place them according to their shape and color. Let your own creativity express itself!
- Think about how your guests will be slicing their cheese—easier to do when the point of the large slice is turned towards the outside of the tray.
- Plan on one knife per cheese family to avoid mixing flavors.
At What Temperature Should your Cheese Be Served?
Store your cheese in a cool place and bring it out to warm up to room temperature about thirty minutes in the summer or an hour beforehand in the winter. Your cheeses will thus be at the right temperature, just like your wines!
What to Serve Your Cheese With?
The best would be to serve a wine from the same terroir or growing region to go along with your cheese.
Tradition of course calls for a fine red wine, but don’t hesitate to serve a semi-dry white wine which goes well with hard, goat or flowered rind cheeses like Brillat Savarin.