Thursday, June 12, 2014

Date Night In | Cheese Board for Two

Last weekend, I prepared an Italian feast for a cozy date night in.  I stopped at Whole Foods, picked up some goodies and started with this absolutely delicious cheese plate.  It was my first time preparing a plate with cured meet or preserves so I thought I'd share my secrets to a beginner's plate for two.


Here are what I believe to be great components of any cheese plate:

- Aged cheese like cheddar or gouda.  I used some Cabot cheddar from our trip to Vermont a few months ago.  Cheddar also adds a familiar component to the plate for those whose cheese palates aren't too adventurous.

-Soft cheese.  I usually like a high-quality goat cheese, but all I had on hand was a cheaper version that is more of a spread than a main attraction which is why it is pictured in the accompaniments category in the picture above. Camembert or brie would also work in this category.

- Firm cheese.  I used parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino.  These are slightly similar and can be salty, so be sure to have something on the plate to balance it out.  

-Blue cheese.  I didn't use any for the plate above, but blue cheese adds a flavor variation that is nice to have.  If you think you don't like blue cheese go to the cheese counter and just try them out!  I'm a Stilton fan.

-Cheese garnishes and other accompaniments.  Some cheeses just lend themselves to being garnished.  Have you tried blue cheese with honey?  Yum!  In this case I dressed the pecorino with two garnishes that we picked up in Italy.  One is a truffle honey (I'm a self-proclaimed truffle fiend) and the other is vin santo --or Holy wine-- jelly.


Other accompaniments I love include pickled veggies, roasted red peppers, or caramelized onions.  I used a fig jam but also love a good fruit chutney.


-Meat.  Just as a good charcuterie plate is made better with a few cheeses, a good cheese plate is made better with some charcuterie.  But that's just one foodies opinion.  If you're a purist, stick to one or the other.  I went to the cheese counter at my local Whole Foods and the very knowledgeable butcher helped me with the cured meat, let me sample, and I walked out of there with a 78 cent serving for two.  Yes, 78 cents bought me enough for this plate and it was plenty!


-Bread.  Honestly, nothing is complete without bread to me.  I used some sliced ciabatta bread that I had on hand.  The combo of the fig jam and goat cheese on the bread was incredible!  Top that with a slice of the bresaola (cured beef) that I had chosen and it was perfection.
 

What are your cheese plate must-haves?  Or better yet, any restaurants serving a cheese plate or charcuterie that I simply can't miss?

5 comments:

  1. This looks really good. I love Cabot cheddar.

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  2. so thrilled to discover another boston blogger - i was getting lonely! looking forward to keeping up with your blog as a fellow foodie!!

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  3. I love a good cheese board!! I love baked brie and good bread to dip it with!

    Hope you enter my L'Occitane giveaway : http://withlovefromkat.com/fall-beauty-must-haves-with-loccitane-divine-body-oil-cream-collection/

    xo Kat

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  4. Who DOESN'T love a good cheeseboard?!

    My hubs and I moved to Boston/Cambridge area three months ago and between work and our rambuncious pup, we've been having difficulty finding time to go out and explore the night life.

    mmmhhmmm Girl, you're making being a Boston shut-in, eating cheese and wine, sound absolutely beautiful.

    ReplyDelete

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