If you’ve been around The Anthony Kitchen for even a short stint of time, you know I am a serious lover of cheese, and a major advocate for the cheese course. If you were to do you’re research…which ya, know, you don’t have to cause I’ll gladly do it for ya…you would find that it is customary when creating a cheese course to serve a selection of three cheeses that vary either by source (e.g., cow, sheep, goat), texture (e.g., soft cheese, semi-firm or hard) or even origin (i.e., where it’s made). To be completely honest with you, the most important thing about a cheese course to me is simply a variety of cheeses that I can pair with cohesive ingredients on the platter. I always take either the season or the occasion under consideration first and foremost.
So here’s the deal: Cheese isn’t necessarily “seasonal,” so even though you don’t want to distract from the cheese, and it should absolutely remain the star of the show, it’s not the first thing I decide on when creating a cheese platter. This platter specifically was designed for a girl’s dinner I was hosting during late spring. I wanted light and bright flavors that would celebrate the season, so I chose to focus on the fresh flavors and sweet notes of both honey and apricots. Now I had to determine which cheeses would pair perfectly with my seasonal picks. After doing a bit of research, I found that goat cheese and blue cheese would go nicely with both honey and apricots. Again, it’s important when preparing a cheese platter that you choose ingredients that will enhance the qualities of your cheese. I chose to top my fresh goat cheese with just a touch of apricot jam. It was a simple and scrumptious little touch the ladies absolutely adored.
Fresh fruit is always a welcomed addition on a cheese platter. I chose fresh apricots, but if you have yet to get a hold of them this season, peaches would be a nice addition as well. The hit the blue cheese with a generous drizzle of honey, and then it was on to cheese number three. Both goat cheese and blue cheese possess very strong flavors. For my third cheese, I wanted something mild and also a little firmer. Have you ever had Wensleydale cheese? It’s one of my favorites. It’s a little crumbly, just the right amount of salty and sweet, plus I found one laden with blueberries. Blueberries, apricots and honey all play extremely well together so that one was a no-brainer for me. Throw in a few water crackers, stoneground crackers and a little side of honey in case your guests want more , and that’s all she wrote. Oh wait, no. And, grapes…because, well grapes are always welcomed on a cheese platter. Ok, now that’s all she wrote. Oh wait, one more thing. Sorry. I just can’t seem to control myself: If you have trouble finding Wensleydale, you could easily substitute a young Gruyere or White Cheddar. For more cheese course ideas, click here.
- 1 4 ounce log of fresh goat cheese
- 1 wedge of blue cheese such as Maytag, Danish or Gorgonzola Dulce
- 1 small wedge of Wensleydale with Blueberries
- 2 tablespoons of apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon of honey for drizzling plus 1/4 cup served on the side (if desired)
- 3-4 apricots halved
- 2-3 cups of red or green grapes snipped into snack-sized clusters
- 1 sleeve of Water or Stoneground Crackers
- Set out cheeses an hour or so before serving. Place the goat cheese in a small serving vessel just large enough to hold it and top it with apricot jam. Place on a large serving platter/board, desired. Place blue cheese on the platter and drizzle with honey. Place Wensleydale on the platter as well. Fill in empty spaces with apricot halves, grapes and crackers, serve and enjoy.
*Make this an easy, gluten-free starter by simply serving your cheeses with gluten-free crackers!
Other Ingredients that would pair well with your cheese platter:
Fresh Sliced Peaches