Happy Thanksgiving week! Who’s ready?
This weekend was all prep at our house with recipe selection and a late Friday night grocery store visit to avoid crowds. Oh, so worth it. As I’ve mentioned before, I really love this holiday. A whole day reserved for eating, drinking and enjoying family time is as good as it gets. Personally, my favorite part of the day lies within the hour right before the meal as people start gathering, delicious smells fill the house and wine is poured. And what would wine be without cheese?
Whether you’re hosting or contributing, a cheese platter will satisfy everyone’s pre-dinner nibbles and won’t add a ton of work in the kitchen. The plates can be as simple or as extravagant as you’d like, but if you’re looking to skip the Kraft colby jack and impress your relatives, start by paying attention to a few details.
- Include a variety – four categories to use are aged, soft, firm and blue
- Pair them with the wine you’re serving!
- Add accompaniments to the platter such as crackers and jam or fruit and nuts
- Lay out separate knives for each cheese
- Label the cheese (in my opinion, this is optional, depending on your crowd)
I may or may not stick to all these rules, but below, I’ve provided my four fool-proof pairings to make a simple and tasty cheese plate.
Brie + Chardonnay/Riesling/Champagne
With the chilly weather, I lean towards red wine, but never forget about people in your party who may be partial to white. Chardonnay is a great dinner wine and pairs perfectly with Brie. No matter what, Brie always makes an appearance on my cheese plates. Falling into the soft cheese category, the texture is super creamy and perfect with a cracker and a little jam. For those who like a sweeter wine, Brie also pairs well with Riesling and for those who celebrate with bubbles, Champagne is also a good match.
Herbed Goat + Pinot Noir
I think it’s fun to bend rules, and due to personal preference, I substituted an herbed goat cheese for the blue category. Goat cheese is another personal go-to and pairs well with my favorite red wine – Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is a very versatile wine, so it’s a staple to have on hand and tastes good with almost any cheese.
Gruyere/Aged Gouda + Cabernet Sauvignon
Gruyere and Aged Gouda fill the firm and aged categories and are both delicious. Gouda will satisfy the more conservative guest and Gruyere gives a little bite but both taste wonderful with a full glass of dry red wine – particularly Cabernet Savignon. Add some salami or prosciutto for the perfect meat + cheese combo.
To finish and for presentation, I like to at least cut a few chunks of each block. One, I find it more inviting so people know to eat it and two, it shows your guests how to properly slice or spread each variety. Make it easy on them so it’s even easier on you!
What is your favorite wine + cheese combo?