Elegant holiday cheese boards or displays provide caterers, delis and other foodservice operators with business-building opportunities for in-house events as well as home or office celebrations.
The year-end holidays are times to kick back and indulge in everyone’s traditional favorite treats. Luscious and rich platters elegantly arranged with California cheeses – served as an appetizer or dessert – are bound to attract seasoned cheese connoisseurs as well as casual nibblers to make them feel special. Cheese plates also fulfill consumers’ perennial passions for snacking and healthy eating, both of which have been trending upward in recent years.
Foodservice operators need to plan ahead to select cheeses and create their platters. Here are a few recommendations to maximize pleasure and profits:
1. If you’re serving a cheese board before the holiday meal, set aside 1 to 2 ounces per person. Serve lighter cheeses, like string cheese or fresh mozzarella before the meal. If after, serve 1 to 1.5 ounces per person. Bring out the Triple-Crème and Blue Cheese at that time.
2. Buy cheese as close as possible to the estimated serving date. Keep the inventory tight and rotate the cheeses. This will eliminate waste and improve customer experience.
3. When putting together the plate, cheesemongers suggest including four or five cheeses covering different textures and flavors, incorporating salty as well as creamy cheeses. Among the favorite categories are white, soft-mold-ripened cheese that’s chalky to creamy.
Next, a washed-rind cheese, which gets its extra uncommon flavor from the saltwater brine that encourages good bacteria and pungent odors. Finally, include selections from the blue family. To help your guests know what they’re enjoying, label each one. Regardless of the types of cheese served, the overarching advice is to avoid flavored versions.
Cheese plates fulfill consumers’ perennial passions for snacking and healthy eating
4. For condiments, keep it simple: nuts, honey, and variety of jams to complement the cheese flavors. As for charcuterie, the saltiness of cured meats goes well with all kinds of cheese. Consider serving a selection of prosciutto, salumi, paté or terrine alongside some pickled vegetables. Serve slices of baguette or crackers in a separate basket or bowl.
California dairies have been making cheese for more than two centuries. Today more than 50 cheesemakers produce more than 250 varieties and styles of cow’s milk cheeses that easily satisfy many palates and tastes. They range from soft to hard, as well as artisan, American, European, Hispanic and Middle Eastern type varieties.
For cheese serving ideas as well as a list of California cheeses for an attractive cheese display, please visit http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/cheese-types.