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TIP OF THE DAY: The Restaurant Cheese Plate

Fine cheese is sophisticated, luscious…and full of cholesterol and calories.

That’s why passing a cheese board at the dinner table is an invitation to over-indulgence.

So take a tip from top restaurants that offer a cheese plate:

Serve small bites of several cheeses, plus fruit and nut condiments.

Cut half-ounce servings of four different cheeses—a hefty tablespoon of each—with an assortment of healthful fruits and nuts (check out our chart of cheese condiments).

 

An oblong plate with small bites of cheese is a healthier way to enjoy this comfort food. Photo courtesy Payard.

 

You don’t need to serve a basket of bread, either: Eat the cheese with a fork and knife. You can add a slice of walnut bread, raisin bread or baguette; or, as shown in in the photo, a piece of panforte, along with a walnut half and dried fruit (shown, a date and a dried apricot).

Browse through our Cheese Glossary to get some ideas of what you’d like to serve. Half the fun is deciding on a theme for your cheese plate (fresh cheeses, goat’s milk or sheep’s milk cheeses, blue cheeses, country-of-origin cheeses [all French or Italian cheeses, for example], and so forth.)

Then, there’s the “wild card sampler”: Look at the cheeses in the store and pick a broad variety of what appeals to you (a fresh cheese, a smoked cheese, a stinky cheese and an aged cheese, for example).

A conventional round plate is fine. But we have a set of rectangular plates like those in the photo.

They add drama to just about any course, and are perfect for samplings (we like to use them for dessert samplers: a small piece of key lime pie, a small slice of brownie and a meringue or macaron, for example).

If it’s not in the budget to treat yourself to a set or two, put these plates on your birthday or holiday “gift registry.”

  





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