Summer ideas for cheese plates
Despite my passion for cheese I’ve long been a believer that you don’t need to lay on a massive cheese board to enjoy it. You can just as easily (and more cheaply) serve a cheese plate.
These can vary from month to month depending on what fruit and vegetables are in season. Here are my ideas for some summer cheese plates, for example, from my book Fiona Beckett’s Cheese Course which has just been re-issued by Ryland Peters & Small (should you feel moved to get yourself a copy!) A really easy way to entertain or make a light, delicious snack for one or two.
Take advantage of the wealth of fresh fruit and vegetables to show off your cheeses: fresh berries, watermelon, peaches, apricots, tomatoes and peppers. Don’t be afraid to introduce a touch of spice. Chilli and garlic work well with cheese.
* Serve thinly sliced sheep’s cheese with grilled peppers and almonds as a mini tapas plate with a glass of fino sherry. Or do as the Basques do and serve it with a cherry compote and a glass of fruity red wine.
* Serve individual ploughman’s platters with a good chunk of Cheddar, thickly carved ham, a dollop of chutney, an apple, some crusty bread and traditional English ale or cider
* Serve a mini antipasti plate with slices of fennel salami, mozzarella and grilled artichokes or slow-roasted tomatoes and breadsticks. Drink a light Italian red or white with this.
* Plate up chunks of watermelon, crumbled Feta and pumpkin seeds and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (pictured above)
* Serve a creamy cheese, such as Explorateur, Robiola or Brilliat-Savarin with a peach and a glass of dessert wine
* A show-stopper (which actually makes the cover of the book): a wedge of Brie, some fresh cherries and a small glass of Guignolet or a Belgian cherry beer.
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