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accent a cheese plate?

we are having a cheese plate after dinner and i was looking for some interesting, very easy edibles to add to it. This will be with wine as well.

some things I have used in the past....

fruit cake
dried fruit such as figs
nuts
fruit crackers
bread
chocolate

I would love some interesting ideas. thanks!

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  1. It seems like I've seen guava or quince paste (from ethnic groceries) suggested in articles.

    6 Replies
    1. re: mamaciita

      How is quince paste served, is it spread onto the cheese or a cracker? I have often seen it in the cheese case at Whole Foods and wondered what one did with it.

      1. re: schellter

        Quince Paste can be spread, but it is more attractive IMHO sliced into a small sliver and served on top of a small slice of manchego cheese (or other cheese of your choosing) on a small cracker. Very yum... One of my favorites.

        Would be nice served with small slices of date bread or figs halved with a dab of creme fraiche. This might make the platter more "desserty". Maybe some apple wedges?

        1. re: Mothership

          I love to slice a wedge of Manchego into long , thin triangles. Then I cut a slice of quince paste (yes, from WF) about 1/8 inch thick. From that, I cut small wedges that mimic the shape of the cheese (this is much faster than it sounds) and set the quince triangle on top of the manchego triangle, put on a plate. I don't bother with a cracker or anything underneath.

          I've been snarfing it that way myself for a couple of years, but I tried serving it to guests for the first time at my parent's 50th anniversary party. I assumed it would not be a super-popular item because I assumed the mostly elderly crowd wouldn't go for something they were unfamiliar with. Wrong. It was the first thing to disappear...i didn't make near enough. i've served it again the same way at a party of cyclists, and it disappeared again. Addictive. Easy. The only problem is manchego prices are insane now.

          1. re: danna

            how does the quince paste go with parm reg or piave vecchio?

            1. re: cleopatra999

              Quince paste goes well with many hard cheeses such as parm reg, you can think of it as a variation of apricot preserve. I don't know piave vecchio, so i won't comment specifically on that. But the manchego/quince paste (membrillo) combo is absolutely brilliant.

              The classic accent for parmegiano regiano is aged balsamic vinegar and a nice amarone - very lovely combo!

              Other combos: I second the honey recommendation below. A young fresh goat cheese, smeared onto a piece of crusty bread and drizzled with good honey is a very decadent combo.

              Medjool dates are fabulous with strong cheeses like blues, Epoisses, aged hard cheeses. I would comment that I find it hard to match these cheeses with wine, and when you add the dates, it becomes harder. I tend to like ports with strong blue cheese, and big fruity reds like Syrah with some of the aged hard cheeses, but I find it hard to match a good wine to an Epoisses. I know they say to match a good red burgundy with Epoisses, but I find I can't appreciate the burgundy as much, and I'd rather focus on the wine than the cheese if I am drinking a really good burgundy!

              Spiced nuts are fun to add. I also love a good fig preserve, one that it not too sweet.

            2. re: danna

              I do the same and it's wonderful. Next time try adding a few toasted almond slivers on top of the quince paste -- it adds a great note and crunch to the combination.

      2. Marcona almonds
        Fig jam
        Sliced pears

        And a wine we often enjoy with cheese is Moscato D'Asti.

        1. fruit (apples, grapes, pears - bleu cheese and pears are one of my favorite combos)
          quince paste, as mamaciita suggested - i've also had other different flavors of fruit paste (fig, pear, plum)
          jam (we've used fig jam)
          honey
          dried date or fig cake (wow, i never realized how attached i am to figs!)

          i'm interested to hear what other people put on their cheese plates

          1. Fruitwise: apple, pear, kiwi, red grapes
            Cheesewise: Sharp Cheddar, Bleu or Stilton, something mild. These should be in wedges.
            Mostly, I don't do crackers or cocktail breads because I don't think it necessary after dinner. But, after a light lunch, I would use one or the other.
            I place them on a wooden lazy Susan in the middle of the table and use cheese plates and cheese knives at each setting.

            1. lately...ancho chili spiced or candied pecans, Raincoast Crisps - the newer Salty Date & Almond variety...and like others have said, seasonal fruit.

              6 Replies
              1. re: maplesugar

                raincoast crisps are always a must, I love the rosemary ones.

                quince paste is an interesting suggestion as are different 'jams', I have not ever thought of that.

                pears are really nice right now, so that is a good idea. marcona almonds would be great, I tried them the first time in the states (bought from trader joes) have not ever seen them up here in Canada (have not really looked), but we have a new gourmet store that I can check out.

                there is a brand of mixed candies nuts called Sahale that would be a nice addition too.

                thanks everyone, keep it coming! I am getting inspired!

                1. re: cleopatra999

                  If you have a Costco membership, they have roasted, salted marcona almonds that are positively addictive. I second the quince paste rec, it's delicious with cheese. If you are in the Toronto area, I just posted in another thread that Longo's carries a line of fruit pastes: quince, pear and fig. They are all amazing and each pairs best with different cheeses, so you could offer a couple of different combinations on your plate (e.g., quince + manchego, pear + blue).

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    I will check at costco thanks for the tip, I am not in TO, I am in Edmonton, I will research where to get the pastes.

                    1. re: cleopatra999

                      Check the Italian centre shop and Bosch kitchen centre. Those are the only places I can think of for quince paste. I did see fresh quinces at sobeys urban market a few weeks ago iff you want to make some yourself.

                      1. re: cleopatra999

                        Oh, I should note that the marcona almonds at Costco are located into the "snacking nuts" (roasted peanuts, cashews,etc.) section rather than the "cooking nuts" (raw almonds, pecans, etc.) area.

                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          I'm addicted to marcona almonds! Too bad they're so expensive....

                          I love putting a sweet onion jam on a cheese plate, fwiw.