Italian cheese platter

How to create the perfect Italian cheese platter

The cheese platter is one of the most famous Italian starters, it’s suitable for vegetarians and it’s rich in flavour and proteins. The cheese platter is also a perfect pairing for wine lovers, you can create combinations of aged cheese and red wine, fresh cheese and white wine or sparkling wines like prosecco, spumante brut and metodo classico.

The cheese platter is a classic recipe for holiday parties, it’s easy to prepare it’s colourful, tasty and perfect to serve to a party. Let’s see how to prepare the perfect cheese platter with Italian cheese and jams.

What to put on the cheese platter?

You can choose a variety of cheese from fresh cheese like mozzarella to aged cheese

It is important to present the board with a variety of cheeses, without overdoing it! The perfect cheese platter, includes three to five different types of cheese. If you have too many choices, you risk creating just so much confusion and people’s palates will not be satisfied. The order of the cheeses must necessarily go in order of flavor: from the most delicate to the strongest so as not to overwhelm the palate. To compose the perfect cheese platter, you could play with the different types of cheese, considering some aspects such as:

Maturing time
Processing temperature
Water content
Fat content
Other characteristics
To ensure a range of different flavors on the cutting board, we can also select cheeses based on the type of milk used: cow, goat, sheep (cow, goat, sheep).

Need ideas to choose your cheese?

I love cheese, but I only know well Italian cheese, so I can only give advice on Italian cheese. My absolute favourite is the pecorino cheese, check out our article about the best Italian pecorino cheese (sheep milk cheese), then I’d suggest to have some grana padano P.D.O. or Parmigiano Reggiano, both these ones are aged, hard cheese that you can chop in cube-like bites and serve with sweet and spice sauces like onion sauce or pear sauce or traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena P.D.O.

Then you can have some Gorgonzola cheese, which is similar to blue cheese.

If you like fresh cheese, you can put some mozzarella di bufala, that you can slice and drizzle with the finest extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

How to present the cheese platter?

Our recommedation is to present the cheese platter on a natural material like wood or bamboo. There are specific products like the one below by Infinito design.

Italian cheese platter Holiday party recipe
Italian cheese platter Holiday party recipe. Credits: infinito design

Cheese and wine pairing

Cheese + wine

Each cheese has its own wine. The different qualities of cheese need the right wine to best enhance the flavor and taste peaks.

If the cheese is very aged: a well-structured red wine that is adequately aged to balance the bitter sensations of the cheese and the tannins of an unripe wine should be paired. Even better it goes with a sweet port or fortified wine that thanks to the structure and the residual sugar tends to balance the spicy, bitter aromas of the cheese
If the cheese is fresh and delicate: the wine to be paired must be light and fragrant.
If the cheese is blue-veined: the perfect wine to pair will be the musty one. An excellent alternative can be a raisin wine or a sweet Sherry

After describing the general structure, here is a list of some cheese – wine pairings:

Asiago> Valpolicella, Teroldego and Lagrein of Trentino
Parmigiano Reggiano> Franciacorta, Piacenza hills
Burrata> Chardonnay
Bitto> Morellino di Scansano, Primitivo di Manduria
Pecorino Toscano> Chianti Classico Riserva
Taleggio> Rosé
Castelmagno> Bordolese, Barolo
Gorgonzola> Passito, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi reserve
Ragusano Dop> Sangiovese reserve
Robiola di Roccaverano> Fiano d ‘avellino
Casciotta d’Urbino> Colli Pesaresi Sangiovese
Buffalo mozzarella from Campania> Circeo white

Cheese pairing with compote and jams

Indicatively, the softer and sweeter the cheese, the more acidic the taste of the jam and jams should tend. On the contrary, if the cheese is characterized by a strong and decisive taste, it will have to marry with a sweeter taste.

Below, we propose a list that will help you understand which cheeses are best combined with the different types of jam and / or marmalade:

The fruit sauce:

Peach sauce: spicy and blue cheeses such as Pecorino Sardo, Gorgonzola
Apricot compote: Pecorino Sardo, Roquefort, Fossa cheese, natural Gorgonzola
Strawberry sauce: Asiago, Murazzano, Robiola d’Alba
Pear sauce: Gorgonzola or Roquefort, Parmigiano Reggiano, aged Pecorino di Pienza
Raspberry jam: goat cheeses, Robiola di Roccaverano
Mixed Berries Jam: Piedmontese ricotta
Blueberry Jam: Bra hard, Tuma dla paja
Black cherry jam: Burrata, Pont l’Eveque de Normandie, Reblochon
Ramassin plum jam: Robiola di Roccaverano and Mondovì, Camembert, Taleggio, Fontina

The jams:

Orange marmalade: fresh soft cheeses such as Ricotta, Camembert, Mascarpone
Mandarin Marmalade: fresh cheeses such as Robiola di Mondovì, Roccaverano, Murazzano
Lemon jam: ricotta, Burrata, fresh robiole, Mascarpone

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