GOURMET CHEESE PLATTER
Forget the boring cheese platter, here are 5 delicious foods that will elevate your cheese presentation to a whole new level.
1. Pepperoni chips. If you have friends who are eating low carb, they will love these crunchy additions. Just lay them put on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Just don't use pepperoni that is too spicy.
2. Honey is a wonderful addition to any cheese platter. It is the perfect juxtaposition of sweet and sour. Generally, I recommend you use varietal honey which is made from bees who pollinate on just one flower rather than bees that pollinate a bunch of different kinds of flowers. Also, just drizzle a little honey on the cheese, don't soak it. A little goes a long way!
Honey goes really well with aged cheeses that have a good amount of nuttiness. Parmigiana-Reggiano, a tangy Cheddar, or any of the alpine cheeses. Other sweet and creamy cheeses like ricotta, goat cheese, or feta are wonderful with a citrus based honey. Donate forget the blue cheeses which are spectacular with honey. For some, the spicier the better, but you may want to experiment to see what you and your guests like the best.
3. Fruit is a MUST!! Fruits are beautiful, delicious, and best of all, help the digestive process. Fruits have always complemented cheese and the best part of creating a cheese platter is adding fruit which may be out of the box a bit. Grapes are always great, but fruits such as figs, cherries, and strawberries look beautiful and taste great with cheese. Of course, doing a bit of research and checking to see which cheeses go with which fruit is always recommended. For example, stay away from any high acid or citrus fruit. But it's not rocket science so don't overthink it! And don't forget, dried fruit is wonderful too!!
4. Cured Meats - Whether you choose salami, prosciutto, or ham, cured
meats are always a delicious addition to any cheese platter. If you don't like cured meats, you could also serve deli meats, such as roast beef, turkey, or chicken slices. Your guests will love making their own combinations of cheese, crackers, and meats.
5. Brace yourself for this one ... CHOCOLATE....yes, chocolate!!! Did you know that dark chocolate and Parmesan cheese have been scientifically proven to work well together. That's right, scientists have actually proven that these two items are perfect for pairing. Another cheese you may want to try with chocolate is mozzarella cheese. But don't over do it, just a small amount will make a huge impression
ALCOHOL SOAKED WHAT?!
1. Vodka infused iced strawberries - Great and easy way to impress your guests. Soak strawberries in vodka for 24 hours. Ice with cake icing and sprinkle with sprinkles (optional) for added pizzazz.
2. Wine soaked grapes - Super easy to make, soak grapes for 24 hours in any wine, brush on a little simple syrup and sprinkle a dusting of sugar. Makes a wonderful treat!
3. Vodka soaked gummy bears - fill a glass container with as many gummy bears as you like. Fill the container with vodka so it just covers all the bears. Then, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2-5 days (the longer you soak them the better). The gummy bears will soak up all the vodka and grow a bit larger than original size. They'll even soak up more vodka if you add more to the container and leave for longer period.
Just make sure you put them in the refrigerator.
4. Vodka Orange Upside Down - One orange and one small bottle of vodka.
Remove top stem of the orange, open up the pulp and place a small bottle of vodka inside it. You can do this with any fruit, including watermelon!
5. Bourbon Honey Toasted Walnuts
BEAUTIFUL DRINK GARNISHES
1. Frozen blueberry skewer - Just skewer the blueberries and freeze. Works great for drinks that need to be cooled but should not have ice in them.
2. Beef Jerky - Yes, you read it right! Beef jerky makes a great garnish for a Bloody Mary which happens to be the perfect drink at any cocktail since it is very hearty and fills people up.
3. Olive, lemon, and cheese skewer - Another great garnish for a hearty drink and the fact that cheese is involved... makes it a true winner!
4. Cucumber wrapped feta stuffed olive - Take your olive garnish to a whole new level!
5. Rosemary raspberry skewer - the perfect garnish for practically any drink...perfect for the holidays!
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