One of the most exciting things about traveling is tasting local cuisine! Some countries’ specialties may seem foreign while others may be a variation of a popular dish from your home country. A food that nearly every country has a local variation of is cheese. France is known for their camembert. Spain is renowned for their manchego. India has perfected their paneer. These cheeses are often best paired with meats, fruits, and nuts from the same region to create delicious entrées and hearty cheese platters
A fun and easy way to experience the flavors of a country is to create a cheese platter made of cheese and meat from the region. To help you craft the perfect cheese platter, FTD created a popular food guide online that covers what types of cheese to include, what utensils to use, the best way to slice various cheeses, and the ideal accompaniments.
Types of Cheese
A good cheese platter includes three to five cheeses with different textures and flavors. The firmness of cheese depends on its moisture content and aging time. Aging also plays a role in how sharp the cheese tastes. Another factor that influences flavor is the type of milk the cheese is made from. To ensure a mixture of flavors, try to include one goat, blue, or aged cheese on your plate, along with cheese of various textures.
Types of Cheese Utensils
How to Cut Cheese
Tips for Choosing Accompaniments
- Include bread in different textures – soft baguette, crunchy crackers, dense, fruited bread. Fruited bread provides a great contrast to salty cheeses like manchego while more bland bread gives the cheese and other accompaniments a platform to stand out.
- Bitter nuts, like walnuts, pair well with rich cheeses like those made from sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. Common cheeses to pair with walnuts include feta, pecorino, ricotta, and manchego.
- Sweet nuts like pecans are a great contrast to salty cheeses like Havarti and Roquefort.
- Fruit’s sweetness is also a welcome contrast to salty cheeses like goat cheese or blue cheese. Fruit can come in many forms from fresh fruit to jam and chutney, to dried fruit, which tends to be sweeter.
- Cured meats have strong flavors, which tend to overpower mild cheeses. To combat this pair them with sharp or nutty cheeses.
- Cured sausages with smoky flavors work well with creamy cheeses that cool the smoke.
- A general rule for pairings is “if it grows together it goes together,” meaning that items from the same region are probably a good match.
Regionally Inspired Platters
The great thing about cheese platters is how versatile they are and how creative you can get with them. Though creating a regional cheese platter can’t compare to visiting the region, it’s a simple way to learn about some of the local flavors.
Cheese: Manchego, Cabrales, Tetilla, Mahón
Bread: Toasted Baguette, Multi-grain Raisin Bread, Pan Rustico
Sweet: Figs, Pistachios, Golden Raisins, Dried Apricots, Hazelnuts
Savory: Chorizo, Spanish Olives, Iberico Ham, Artichoke Hearts
Cheese: Pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Taleggio, Buffalo Mozzarella, Robiola, Provolone, Gorgonzola
Bread: Ciabatta, Focaccia, Grissini, Pumpernickel, Cranberry Loaf
Sweet: Grapes, Melon, Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, Pine Nuts
Savory: Mortadella, Prosciutto, Bresaola, Roasted Red Peppers, Marinated Olives