Hello there and Happy Holidays!
Are you all getting excited for the holiday times? It’s my absolute favorite season for many reasons, including but not limited to the camaraderie, the festive chill, the heart-warming decorations, and of course, the good eats! From spending five years as a cheesemonger, I learned that sometimes this time of year can be stressful when it comes to food; there’s a whole heap of pressure to get something together that is tasty, unique, and memorable. So without further ado, let’s talk about making a cheese platter! I’m tailoring this towards a New Year’s Eve celebration, but these combinations could be used for any kind of party…have fun with it!
By this point, you’re anticipating a cheese and jam pairing plate…and right you are! Of all the accompaniments used with cheese, I love jam the most due to its versatility (and extreme snack-ability). You can pair many jams with many cheeses, and all of the recommendations I list below can be interchanged if you so choose…or if the cheese plate gets a little busy.
How much cheese should you provide at this party? Rules of thumb can be one-two ounces per person, others say that three-four ounces (or even six!) is more appropriate. Keep in mind, all of this depends upon how your cheese is being featured. As I always said behind the counter, “is the cheese the main attraction or a supporting actor?” Depending on your answer, the amount of cheese you’re providing will vary. My personal rule of thumb? You’ll also be well served by bringing “too much” (as if that’s a thing) cheese than not enough; if you’re having a small party of four people, provide a pound to a pound and a half of cheese. By that metric, three ounces per person should suit you down to the ground.
Ok, now onto the fun stuff… for my New Year’s Eve party, this is what I would bring (and pair):
A romance made in heaven, Gorgonzola Dolce and Apricot Up In The Moment creates a most delightful flavor sensation for you immediately. The pudgy quality of the sweet and salty gorgonzola is matched perfectly with the tangy and bright Blenheim apricot, a creamy dream of zing in every bite! It’s a combination for those who like bold flavors, but what better time to expand your horizons then at the dawning of a new year? This will also be a fun pairing with a sparkling wine (did I hear someone say Cava?), hugging the creamy fruity notes and giving you a full brioche with jam flavor.
It’s the holiday season, and what better way to celebrate than with a warm and hearty combination like Manchego 1605 and Sublemonal Message? The sheep’s milk olive and leather notes embrace the zesty and zippy ginger and sweet and tart Meyer Lemon as they cavort into the wild blue yonder. It’s just the right cheese and jam combination to start writing your resolutions list alongside of; which windmills are you going to tilt at, which dreams are you going to chase? Lest we forget that it’s a holiday to get fancy with it, make sure you grab some Jamon Iberico from your local butcher shop to really tie this pairing together. Miguel Cervantes would be so proud
For those who prefer their pairings sweet and nostalgic, give this one a whirl! The Berry Mature jam has a truly magical kiss of elderflower essence that wraps the blueberries in a vanilla gown, giving you berry pie for days. Add some local (if you can) fresh chèvre, and this is the dollop of tangy Madagascar vanilla ice cream on top of that pie; just try to resist it. My favorite method of serving jam with chèvre is to literally pour the jam on top of the cheese, really covering the surface. Don’t be afraid; it’s going to look glamorous as heck next to some of that champagne from earlier.
With that, enjoy your holidays and happy feasting!
Rose the Casein Consultant
Comments will be approved before showing up.