Feed Your Cheese Addiction: 5 Tips For The Perfect Cheese Plate
Who runs the world? Cheese. This little dairy delight is so universally adored, some dedicate their lives to mastering its pungent aromas. Long Beach-based fromagier Lisa Albanese has done just this, expanding her love of curds and whey into two local shops, aptly dubbed after her habit. Cheese Addiction Huntington Beach opened its doors in mid-November, gifting locals with a unique fromagerie that stocks flavors from all over the world—along with all the accoutrements.
Inside the husband-wife owned cheesery, senses are hit with the sights and scents of rotating cheeses, seasonal goodies, exclusive boutique wines, "Cheese 101" classes, tastings and pairings, as well as gourmet crackers, chocolates, jams, pickles, and utensils.
It's a one-stop shop for your cheese cravings, and we caught up with Albanese to get "cheesucated" on curating the perfect cheese platter. Her favorite cheese? "The one that's in my mouth."
1 // Choose an array of cheeses with different flavors and textures.
First and foremost, a cheese platter is all about the cheese. Showcase different styles, countries, and milks on your board. Try to pick at least one spreadable creamy cheese, something firmer or sharper, and then something funky or blue. The world of cheese is bountiful and full of all sorts of different and exciting options, so feel free to get creative.
2 // Label all these amazing cheeses to let your guests know what's what.
Picture this scenario: You've put thought and effort into creating the most beautiful cheese platter. You fill it up with all sorts of amazing cheeses, and then, when you try to sit down to relax and enjoy the party that you're hosting or attending, every guest asks you to explain the ins and outs of all the cheeses. Avoid this by making labels for each cheese, adding information like name, type of milk, and country of origin. The party-goers will all appreciate the fun facts and cheese education, and you can sit back and enjoy the marvel that you put together.
3 // Cut the cheeses into different shapes and sizes to make a visual impact.
Have a nice, soft brie? Leave the wedge in the middle of the plate and stick a knife in it for easy spreading. Have a wedge still in the wax? Crumble it up and refill the wax exterior to make a plentiful container of bite-size cheese chunks. Don't forget that people taste with their eyes first and their mouths second, and make your platter as beautiful and dynamic as possible.
4 // Deciding between bread and crackers? Choose both!
We've already decided that different tastes and textures of cheeses are great when assembling a platter. The same rule applies for the carbs on the plate. Offer your guests crisp crackers and a soft baguette to see how these textures affect the flavors of the cheeses. Or, offer a neutral cracker alongside a crostini baked with dried fruits and nuts.
5 // Don't forget about the accoutrements!
For something crunchy, add some nuts to your platter. Bring some sweet, tangy flavors with dried dates, figs, or apricots, or even some jam or preserves. For something fresh and fruity, pile on green and red grapes. For a savory option, add some briny olives or a mustard spread. And of course, there’s so many charcuterie meats to think about—prosciutto, salami and patés can give cheeses new dimension. These accoutrements can be mixed and matched with all your cheese selections, and your guests will have a blast tasting which cheeses pair best with which sides.