Cheese platter ideas
Sweet baby cheeses! Thinking of nestling that chunk of cheddar into a pile of grapes? Ever thought of serving syrupy honeycomb over a buttery blue? This is your complete guide on what to put on a cheese platter.
We caught up with cheesemonger Sharyn de Kort from Adelaide St’s The Cheese Pleaser to help us create the ultimate feasting platter.
All of the artisan, speciality products in our guide can be found locally in the city, so you can nip out in your lunch break or pop into a store after work (FYI The Cheese Pleaser is open until 6pm on weekdays). It doesn’t get gouda than that.
BTW, if you’re looking for unique corporate catering or a special treat for your co-worker’s birthday, scroll to the end of the article for some of our favourite suppliers of cheese boards, cakes and ready-to-eat platters for CBD workers.
Choosing your cheese
How should you pick your cheese? One way is the textural approach, choosing a white mould, semi-hard, aged, firm, washed rind, soft and a blue cheese. Cheesemonger Sharyn de Kort recommends selecting cheese by animal’s milk.
“When I put a cheese platter together I try and do a selection of cow, goat and sheep. Another good rule of thumb is to always put out a brie, a blue, a cheddar and a sheep-goat mix.”
Once you’ve chosen your cheeses, make sure you bring them to room temperature before serving. You want a gooey consistency so you can experience the full, mouth-watering flavours.
The Cheese Pleaser tip: People are loving our mixture of cheddars from Neal’s Yard Dairy, especially the Cornish Kern which is rich and dense.
Add your accompaniments
Finding the perfect pairings is critical to the success of your cheese platter as they intensify and change flavours. You want to open your palate and use accompaniments that excite the senses, rather than overpower them.
“I wouldn’t pair cheese with anything acidic. Choose fruit that goes with the palate. You want something that continues to dance and tells a story,” Sharyn said.
Stone fruit like pear, nectarine and peach go well with a washed rind or blue cheese. Opposites attract, so a strong, ripe cheese will pair perfectly with sticky, sweet fruits. You can find seasonal produce in the heart of the city at the Brisbane City Markets every Wednesday.
“I love fresh fruit. It adds colour and you’re supporting your local market, purchasing seasonal produce,” Sharyn said.
When figs are in season, they need to make an appearance on your cheese board. Try drunken figs with a strong cheese – soaking figs in whiskey or port is a decadent choice, especially during the festive season.
If opting for dried fruit, Sharyn recommends muscatels and dates. The sweetness enhances the taste of a blue cheese or cheddar.
“It’s very traditional to have a fresh baguette and cheese but I also enjoy a gluten-free biscuit that’s not too strong in flavour,” Sharyn said.
Our tip: Add a dish of olive oil to your board for dipping fresh bread. We love OTTO’s signature olive oil, created by Chef Richard Ptacnik with a team from Sicily.
Charcuterie brings nutty, salty and peppery flavours to a platter. Cured meat, like cheese, is packed with salt, fat and proteins. Salami, prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano are classic pairings.
Parfaits, pates, olives, chutneys and pastes can heighten the buttery and earthy flavours we love to sample. The Cheese Pleaser makes its own signature apple and walnut chutney and you can buy olives, pates and quince paste in-store.
The Cheese Pleaser tip: Pair honey or some honeycomb with a blue rather than a quince paste if you want to try something different. Roasted hazelnuts over brie also works a treat.
Arrange your platter
There are lots of ways to arrange a cheese platter. If you want to be on your best briehaviour, the French traditionally serve odd numbers of cheese. The rationale is that it’s aesthetically appealing.
You can also sort your cheese from mild to strong in a clockwise direction, working your way up to the strongest flavor.
“When I style a board it’s about colour, texture and shapes. I might do a square, triangle and round shape so it’s visually enticing,” Sharyn said.
A dramatic and unique way to serve a feasting platter is to go for a single sensation on its own board.
“There’s nothing wrong with just having a kilo wheel of cheese on a board. It has an impact and looks fantastic. Like a big beautiful brie," Sharyn said.
“Try not to overload the board - you want to move between the pieces. I know heavily loaded boards are a popular style but I like to see everything and not touch one knife with the next.
“I also love putting a lovely big chunk of salami on the table that people can cut themselves. It adds to the whole rustic look.”
Sharyn also likes to style a grazing station with breadsticks, fresh lavender and candles.
Where to go for corporate catering in Brisbane CBD
For last-minute birthday cakes or office morning teas, here’s some unique and luxe vendors in the CBD doing sweets, hampers and corporate catering with a twist.
Chester Street Cake Shop
Coming soon to the Brisbane CBD is the famous Chester Street Bakery. Its kiosk cake shop is designed to cater for patrons in the city. Perfect for morning tea and office birthdays. The new store opens on Tuesday, 25 July.
Dello Mano, Tattersall’s Arcade
Brisbane brownie master Dello Mano is one of Australia’s most celebrated bakehouses. Fall in love with its window of small cakes with flavours like raspberry-passionfruit torte and the larger celebration cakes. Pick up a take-away order or have your goods delivered if you’re in the CBD.
The Cheese Pleaser
The family-run fromagerie offers cheese, bread, charcuterie and a small seasonal menu prepared daily by in-house chef Sebastiaan de Kort. The Cheese Pleaser caters for board meetings, luncheons, pop-ups and events and even does cheese towers for weddings.
Le Bon Choix
With two CBD locations on Edward St and Queen St, French-renaissance-style food is easy to find. The charming boulangerie and patisserie caters for special occasions and corporate meetings with cakes, petits fours, mini pastries and savouries.
Whether you’re organising a gourmet gift hamper or a corporate event, pairing the right beverage with your food can be an art form in itself. Malt Traders specialises in craft beer, bio dynamic and organic wines and single malt whiskey. It also supplies three-course picnic hampers to be enjoyed in your favourite Brisbane spot. Treat yourself to a riverside picnic with a cheese platter and bottle of wine to match. If you want to know what drinks to serve with your feasting platter, pop into Malt Traders' specialty store in Market Street, Brisbane City.