The Best Cheese Plate Ever

Which cheeses should you serve at your next party? And what should you pair them with? Learn the 5 essential tips for the best cheese plate ever in Clever Cookstr's interview with Liz Thorpe, national cheese expert and author of The Cheese Chronicles

Kara Rota
2-minute read
Episode #3

Today the Clever Cookstr sits down with Liz Thorpe, national cheese expert and author of The Cheese Chronicles.

Can you serve Camembert with Brie? Cheddar with Gouda?

Find out the 5 essential tips for creating the best cheese plate ever.

Click the Play button in the upper right hand corner to listen to the audio podcast and learn how to shop for cheeses, how to serve them, and what to pair them with:

Tip #1: Buy 3-5 Cheeses

You want to have enough for diversity, but not so many that you'll overwhelm your guests. Are you serving cheese as a meal unto itself, or a course at the end of a meal? A good guideline is one ounce of cheese per person, per cheese.

Tip #2: Vary Colors and Textures

A range of styles and textures works well: something soft and creamy, something blue, something stinky (generally the orange-rinded cheeses). You can also do a "vertical tasting" - that's serving 3-5 cheeses of a similar style to compare and contrast the textural differences.

A good "cheese intro" includes a cow, a goat, and a sheep cheese. Keep an eye out for La Tur, an almost cheesecake-like Italian cheese; Bayley Hazen, a Vermont blue from Jasper Hill Farm; and Époisses, a pasteurized cow's milk cheese.

Tip #3: "Do I Eat the Rind?"

If you want to, yes! Just remember: soft, thin, skinlike rinds can add a lot to the flavor and complexity. Harder, thicker, sharp-edged rinds are better to cut off.

Tip #4: Multiple Knives Are Key

You don't want to drag the strong flavor of a blue cheese through a delicate Brie, so you'll want different knives for different cheeses. Other props like miniature blackboard cheese signposts are optional.

Tip #5: Don't Over-Pair - Let the Cheese Stand Alone!

You don't need one pairing for every cheese. Stick to a basic baguette or water cracker, a sweet condiment like fresh or dried fruit, a savory condiment like green olives or cured meat, and something pickled. The acid helps cut the fat in the cheese.

Tune in next time for the Clever Cookstr's Quick and Dirty Tips from the World's Best Cooks.

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About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.