A cheese plate with honeycomb. Photo
courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Some of the most sophisticated diners don’t think of ending a meal with baked goods, ice cream, pudding or other sugary dessert. Instead, they prefer a plate of cheese.
Available in every texture from soft and creamy to hard and grainy, an assortment of cheeses ends the meal with sophisticated flavors, and goes with the remaining wine.
Cheese can be served with bread, crackers, fresh or dried fruits, nuts and other accompaniments (see our master list of cheese condiments and have fun pairing them with different cheeses).
For a bit of dessert sweetness, cheese and honey are an excellent combination.
Try honey with everything from mild, fresh goat cheeses, to bloomy-rind Brie and Camembert, to strong blue cheeses like Cabrales, Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton, to aged Asiago, Gouda or Parmesan.
USE GOOD HONEY
Most of us already have honey in the kitchen. But think beyond generic* honey and look for sophisticated honey varieties.
Basswood, buckwheat, cranberry, orange blossom, raspberry, sage, saw palmetto and sourwood are just a few varietals that are as different in flavor as the cheeses they annoint. The honey carries the flavor of the plant from which the pollen was gathered.
There are also quite a few infused honeys: flavors added to the honey, from eucalyptus and orange to pear and truffle.
Serve the honey freestyle: drizzled on the plate, passed in the jar or a bowl, or as a slice of honeycomb, as shown in the photo.
How many cheeses should you serve? Two to four varieties offer a nice contrast. If you only have one type of cheese, add more garnishes or serve it on a small plate of salad.
And keep the slices small. Cheese has about 100 calories per ounce and it’s laden with cholesterol/saturated fat. It’s easy to polish off half a pound at a sitting. You’ll do your guests a favor by serving the cheese pre-plated instead of having them cut large slices for themselves.
*Generic honey is generally imported from Argentina and China, where the goal is to provide sweetness. Flavor is secondary.
HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT HONEY?
History Of Honey
Honey Trivia Quiz
Storing & Using Honey
Pairing Varietal Honeys With Food & Beverages
Types Of Honey