Williams-Sonoma collaborated with Chef Chris Cosentino on his new cookbook, Beginnings, which features more than 60 recipes for Italian-style first courses, organized by season. Here, the chef/founder of Incanto, Boccalone and Pigg shares an excerpt from the book, explaining how to create a cheese platter for entertaining.
Building the perfect cheese platter is all about having a balance of flavors and styles of cheese.
When choosing cheese for a platter, it’s best to look for a variety of milk types, ages and styles of cheese. Choose cheese with different flavor profiles: strong or mild, rich or salty, creamy or firm. Don’t overload the platter with one style of cheese; aim to maintain a good balance. Each cheese should provide a different experience.
When preparing and serving cheese, it’s best to use the right tools to do the job. If you don’t, you could mar the texture of the cheese or even worse, get hurt. That being said, you don’t need to go out and buy a full cheese knife set; just don’t use the cheese curler to try to cut the triple cream.
You don’t need to be an artist to arrange a cheese platter. Remember it needs to look nice, but mainly it just needs to make sense and have balance. Try to arrange the cheeses with a sense of flow, placing them in the order you want your guests to taste them. Make sure to have a variety of condiments. You want items that will complement the cheeses and help to showcase their unique flavors without overpowering them.