Before, or instead of Dessert

Cheese plates can be as simple as a few different kinds of cheese presented on a plate, or as complicated as you can imagine making them. Either way a selection of cheeses is a great way to finish a meal, especially for those that don't enjoy sweets. Of course, cheese plates can also be served with a glass or two of wine, or just by themselves.



Tasting a few different wines with a few different cheeses makes for an instant party that will long be remembered. Notice the numbers on the glasses. Using a dry erase marker note the glasses, on the bottom where they won't get wiped off, so it is easier to remember which wine is which.


A bit of fresh herbs can make an otherwise dreary selection of cheeses a bit more festive. This particular selection includes a hard cheese, Parmesan, a medium cheese, Ementhaler, and a soft cheese, Danish Blue. The red one at the top left is baked Brie in a crust with cherry jam.


A bit of bread is traditional with cheese. Here French bread has been cut on a slight bias and then toasted.


You can also pre prepare the bread with one or more cheeses so your guests can simply pop them in their mouths without any work.


Nuts are a great accompaniment to your cheese plate. In this case I crushed them up first and sprinkled them about, to add a little visual appeal.


In an example of a more complicated cheese plate, here I took shredded Gruyere, Ementhaler and Parmesan cheeses and heated them in a pan to make a "cheese lace". This can be served alone, or crumbled as in the previous photo. In this case I took it a few steps further by forming the hot cheese over a rolling pin into a tube. I then carefully cut the bottom off so it would stand and then filled the tube with a mixture of cream cheese, crushed almonds and Amaretto.