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cheese and fruit plate advice

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We are invited to a dinner party this month and I was asked to bring dessert.....I know that half the guests have given up sweets for Lent, so I thought I would bring a cheese and fruit plate to finish the meal and some short bread cookies for those who still indulge during Lent.

I am looking for help on what to put on the cheese plate. Probably nothing too far out taste wise as these folks tend to be less adventurous eaters (but we still love them dearly!) Although when it's our turn to host, we probably push their envelopes considerably LOL. Suffestions please!

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  1. Thin wedges of manchego cheese with a small piece of quince paste (many supermarkets now carry membrillo) is always a great pairing. Add some grapes and toasted pecans with the manchego and membrillo/quince paste.

    A soft Brillat-Savarin (or other triple crème like St. Andre) with apricots.

    Purple Haze goat cheese (flavored with wild fennel pollen and lavender) with something tangy, although a fruit suggestion escapes me. Perhaps slices of a tart apple?

    1. When we have guests, it's rare these days that we serve a cheese selection. We've found it much better to plate a generous looking portion of a single cheese and match the accompaniments to that. Almost invariably, it'll be a cheese from the region. Some will need a fruit; others a chutney; others still nothing sweet at all (therefore usually celery as an accompaniment. Difficult to offer a precise suggestion based on that as I wouldnt know what your local cheeses are or, even, if you have locally made cheeses.

      1. This information from the Napastyle.com has some very good ideas for the Ultimate Cheese Course. Stilton with Lavender Honey...yum, yum.
        http://www.napastyle.com/catalog/sear...

        1. l have usually done three cheeses and three accompaniments. Fruits should be a bit sweet and at least one dried, honey and marmalade with will help as well. For your three cheeses; one soft, one medium, one hard, one cow, one sheep, one goat, one strong ,one medium, one mild. Rarely use bread/crackers unless a cheese pudding-like.

          1. The following link has a great article for making just such a presentation. Cheese and fruit plates can be as varied as you want to make them. The only suggestion I could add would be to keep any crackers or the like toned down so as not to detract from the cheese. Found out Triscuits can be WAY too hardy for some cheeses.

            http://www.forkandbottle.com/cheese/m...