Host a Cheese Party!
Host a Wisconsin Cheese tasting at your home. Stop in at Cornellier Superstore to select your cheeses, pick up the perfectly paired wine and beer and you’re all set to party!
Wisconsin crafts more than 600 varieties, types, and styles of cheese. So be creative! A cheese course can follow many themes – from mild to strong selections to a “flight” that features different styles of a single cheese variety. Just be sure guests know which Wisconsin Cheese they’re enjoying. A cheese name card is often helpful.
A cheese course as a mid-meal transition allows guests to slow down and savor the dining experience. Serve small cheese portions if you are following with a dessert. But remember, cheese paired with fresh fruit and a classic dessert wine is also the perfect end to a meal.
For most occasions, offer three to five different cheeses on a cheese plate. More than this is typically too many for guests to fully enjoy.
Serving size and time matter. If a cheese course is served as a first course or just before, or as dessert, allow about two ounces per person of each type. If cheese is a prominent part of the main course, allow for more accordingly.
For full flavor, serve cheese at room temperature, removing from the refrigerator about an hour before serving, depending on size. Hard cheeses require a longer time to reach room temperature than soft cheeses.
Typically, cheese cuts best when cold. However, some hard cheeses, such as Parmesan and Asiago, cut more easily when brought to room temperature.
To make individual servings, cut cheese into manageable sizes, such as cubes, sticks, and squares. If guests are to serve themselves, offer large, attractive wedges or other cuts along with proper cutting utensils.
A collection of special cheeses makes a beautiful presentation. Choose a platter, wood cheese board, or granite or marble slab to bring out the unique colors and textures. If guests are serving themselves, be sure the serving piece is sturdy and will accommodate cutting.
Let Cheese Breathe
Cheese needs breathing space to develop and maintain its flavor on a cheese plate. When cheeses are placed too close together, their individual aromas intermingle, making it difficult to differentiate between flavors. Provide a different knife for each cheese to avoid the mixing or changing of flavors.
Expertly crafted cheeses can be satisfying on their own. Some accompaniments, however, enhance their flavors and complexities. Fresh and dried fruits such as grapes, pears, apricots, and figs make ideal companions, as do savories such as olives, roasted nuts, and marinated vegetables. Jams, jellies, and chutneys also make outstanding pairings.
To ensure you are buying cheese that meets the highest cheesemaking standards, always look for the “Wisconsin Cheese” identification mark on the package. If buying cheese at a service counter, ask where the cheese is from.