Shop for cheeses based on when and how you are planning to serve them. If your party is in the afternoon or you are serving cheese as an appetizer, make your selection light. Start with a fresh or young cheese, like creamy Italian Burrata (made from mozzarella and cream) or a wrinkly-rind, young goat cheese (goat’s milk has less lactose and is easier for people to digest. The longer it matures the milder the flavor becomes).

Compliment your cheese selection with the sweetest berries available in warm weather or juicy pears, red grapes and dried fruits in cooler weather.

When hosting a cocktail party, go for the bold, but not so bold it will clash with the cocktails and wine. A Farmhouse Cheddar (a hard cheese made using a few shortcuts to produce a cheese that’s rustic in appearance but similar in flavor to cheddar), a special Pecorino Romano (hard, salty Italian cheese), and a Comté (a French unpasteurized cheese, loved for its aromatic richness) are all easy pairing cheeses and are generally enjoyed by most.

I generally offer three to four cheese varieties.  Any more than four cheeses may be confusing by mixing too many flavors. Be dramatic with a large wedge of a cheese you dearly love. A pound of any great cheese looks remarkable on your platter.

Give your guest a little introduction to the cheeses you have selected and why you have chosen to serve them. Some guests hesitate to take that first bite; others destroy your carefully crafted display in one fell swoop of a cheese knife. Chunk bite sized nuggets out of a wedge of hard cheese, cut out a serving of the softer cheeses and cut a few triangles from rind to center from cheeses with a rind. Pre-cutting the cheese is less daunting for the timid guest and hints to the cheese enthusiast what an appropriate portion size should be.

Do plan to add additional appetizers to your party if you want to serve a heartier menu like we have done for our Napa inspired party.  Have fun with the party decorations or to simplify the entire process purchase our Napa collection.

If you have found this information helpful, please share it with your friends. As always, we appreciate your comments too! Make every day a party!