Stinky to Mild

Stinky to Mild

How to build a cheese plate

By Stephanie Lucianovic

What to Buy

Three ounces per person if it’s an appetizer, 6 ounces per person if it’s the main event.

Choose four cheeses with a variety of milks, regions, and textures. For example:

How to Plate It

Arrange the cheese on a plate from mildest to strongest. If you’re not sure which is strongest, smell it. Stinkier cheeses are usually stronger tasting. Serve at room temperature for fullest flavor. Some serveware we like:

Slate Tray and Petal Servers
VivaTerra, $27 for set of two

J.K. Adams Artisan Plank
Sur La Table, $29.95

Wüsthof Classic Cheese Knife and Board Set
Sur La Table, $29.99

What to Eat It With

Plain crackers or crusty plain bread. Or try pairing spicy blue cheeses with honey-walnut bread. Don’t serve crackers with black pepper or other spices that might interfere with the flavors of the cheese. Embellish with apples, pears, figs, dates, and berries. Stay away from citrus, which is too acidic and will overwhelm your cheeses. Try chutneys, fruit pastes, jams, and honey. Here are some we like:

How to Cut It

For softer cheeses, like Brie or fresh goat, use a knife that has a rounded edge for easy spreading:

Silver Plate Spreaders
Sur la Table, $9.95 for set of four

Harder, drier cheeses, like pecorino, need a sharp knife or cheese plane:

Rösle Cheese Plane
Amazon.com, $28.95

Gastronome Stainless Steel Cheese Plane
Amazon.com, $7.50

What to Drink with It

Riesling. For other wine-pairing ideas, click on the names of the cheeses above.

How to Store It

In parchment or waxed paper rather than in plastic wrap, then stash in the crisper drawer of your fridge. It will stay fresher and won’t smell and taste like plastic.