Do you want to surprise your guests with a nice French cliché? For your next “soirée” at home, offer a fresh or ripened French piece of cheese. The cheese plate served between the main course and the dessert is developed to satisfy all palates. Following old practices, some may suggest jams, fruit jellies or candied to be served on the side.
Cheese is cut according to its form: if the cheese is round-shaped, it should be cut into quarters; if it is a triangular form, cut it in triangular parts; if only half of the cheese is served, it should be cut in squared strips.
A good presentation of a cheese plate or a “plateau de fromage” includes at least three varieties of cheese; one or two strong cheeses and one or two soft ones. Exclude industrial cheeses! The cheese platter (often made of wood, glass or wicker) shall not be brought to the table before the time of tasting. Some people only serve one cheese, but in this case it must be a great cheese, almost sublime!
The host should not offer cheese twice to the guests. Avoid eating cheese crust, unless it is very thin and garnished with condiments or nuts.
Never spread cheese on your bread! Only use a knife except for Chester and Gruyère.
The cheese experts refuse to taste the cheese with butter, except with the famous Roquefort.
Pairing cheese and wine is an art! Fresh cheeses (e.g. Demi-sel, Neufchâtel) must be paired with a fresh white wine. Semi- hard cheeses (e.g. Camembert, Coulommier) are very good tasted with light red wines. Semi-hard fermented cheeses (e.g. Pont-l’évêque, Reblochon) must be accompanied with stronger red wines. Well-cooked cheeses (e.g. Comté, Beaufort) are a very good match with a fruity white wine and fresh goat cheese with red wine. Last but not least, the Roquefort is well known to fit perfectly with Sauternes wine.
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