(BPT) - From backyard barbecues to sophisticated soirees, summer is sure to pack your social calendar. Whether you're hosting the party or want to help out the host, there's one favorite food option that everyone will adore: a cheese plate.
This classic plate offers something for everyone and is as appropriate for an elegant evening event as it is at a casual cocktail hour. Heck, a cheese plate is the perfect dish to nosh on as you sit around a cozy fire on a star-studded summer evening.
Creating a delectable cheese plate is easier than you think. Simply follow these tips from the pros at Saputo Specialty Cheese. With a few twists for summer, your plate will have everyone raving.
Plan the right amount
Prepare 4-6 ounces of cheese per person if cheese is the main dish, and serve more or less depending on the time of day and whether other foods are served. When in doubt, reference this handy online cheese calculator at saputospecialtyparty.com.
Strive for variety
To create the ultimate summer cheese plate, just remember this rhyme when shopping: Something old, something new, something stinky and something blue! Stick with three to five cheeses and strive for variety in taste, appearance and texture.
Get the best of blue
You can't go wrong with Salemville award-winning blue cheeses. Try Salemville Gorgonzola with a rich, earthy flavor. Or, embrace the summer barbecue mindset with Salemville Smokehaus Blue cheese, an Applewood smoked blue cheese with a sweet, slightly smoky flavor. Explore the four flavors and select based on your preferences.
Save the extra
If you don't want to set out all your cheese at once, the Salemville brand's new packaging is sure to make entertaining a snap. Each comes in easily resealable containers so you can use as little or as much as you want, then pop it back in the fridge for whenever you need more!
Select the platter
You're not limited to fine china for your cheese plate. Let your creativity flow! Consider wood cutting boards or marble tiles to add an unexpected visual twist. Plus these materials are sturdier and less likely to break if you're hosting an event al fresco.
Complement your cheese
A well-rounded cheese plate will include tasty accompaniments. Embrace summer's vibes by including fresh berries, halved figs, melon balls, vegetable straws or sliced apple. A small jar of locally harvested honey can add the essence of summer to your plate while enhancing the flavors of the cheese pairings.
Round it out
Finally, no plate is complete without a selection of garnishes like crackers, crostini or pitas. Add olives, nuts and meats as desired. A few sprigs of fresh summer herbs is also a pretty and tasty addition. Arrange cheeses and extras artfully on the platter about an hour before guests arrive, as room-temperature cheese maximizes each variety's flavor.