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How to Build a Cheese Plate

It is well documented that I detest American cheese. Perhaps it was those “tasty” grape jelly and American cheese sandwiches my mother made for me when I was little or maybe it is just the lifeless flavor and texture of it. Honestly, I just don’t see the point in it. Happily, I’ve learned to love goat cheese, bleu cheese and a variety of semi-hard cheeses since those early cheese loathing days. To me, these are cheeses to love.

I’m taking a somewhat lazy route to my Christmas Eve food contribution by serving a cheese plate. Typically, I try to make something, but inevitably it doesn’t hold up well after the train ride to my parent’s house. 

A good cheese tray is always a hit and you can mix it up each time with different pairings and accompaniments. Selecting your cheese, deciding what to serve it with and picking a wine can be a little daunting, which is why I’m consulting this great article I found on CHOW at It offers an easy, quick tutorial on putting your cheese tray together and provides a glossary on cheese terminology.

This year, I’ve decided to go with a bleu cheese, a goat cheese and a mild semi-hard cheese. I’ll serve the bleu cheese with honey or figs and the goat cheese with a homemade cranberry compote. The remainder of my cheese plate will consist of sliced apples, pecans or almonds, sliced baguette and crackers.

Now off to find some wine for my cheese…Cranberry-Orange Compote

From the 12/5/09 Fork You Live at Foster’s Homewares

  • 1 12-ounce bag of cranberries, washed and sorted to remove any mushy berries
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar

Combine the cranberries, orange zest and juice and the sugar (start with 1/2 a cup and then add more later if it’s too tart). Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries break down and turn jammy.  Serve over goat cheese.

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