How to Build the Perfect Cheese Plate
Edible interviewed Chef Eric LeVine of Morris Tap & Grill and Paragon Tap & Table about what makes the ideal cheese plate, and why appetizers are so important...even at huge holiday dinners. See what he had to say, and then enjoy some of these recipes.
Edible: We don't want to over-do it, so how many cheeses, once and for all, should be on a cheese plate?
Chef Eric LeVine: Four is the perfect amount. You need to have the balance of sharp, salty, sweet, and earthy. Texture plays a major part as well. Some cheeses are meant to be eaten as-is, some are meant to be spread, and some are best combined with other foods.
So, which one cheese is the must-have?
Roquefort blue cheese to me is a must have, the earthiness and saltiness makes an amazing accompaniment to wine or port.
Not that there's anything wrong with simply eating cheese, but what else needs to be on the plate?
Fig jams are a great companion to cheeses since the sweetness balances the saltiness of the cheese. I also like grain mustard, as the spice enhances soft cheeses like goat or camembert.
If we're serving appetizers too, how much should we make per person?
Depends on what the meal looks like. Will you be having a seated dinner, a buffet, or small plates? The rule I follow is for an hour cocktail reception/party, plan to make 8-9 pieces of appetizers per person per hour.
What's your favorite way to serve appetizers? Surely no one wants to balance their food on a tiny napkin...
I enjoy using edible spoons to service appetizers. We make them out of wonton skins, which is very cool.
Why are appetizers an important part of a big holiday meal?
Appetizers set the tone. I see it as a precursor for the entire meal. Start with light items, things that work the digestive system so the meal you are about to have doesn’t feel so heavy.
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