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Cheese & Olives

Cheese platter with nuts and spreads
A cheese platter is one of the simplest appetizers a party host can create and yet the effect is often a complex and intriguing taste experience for guests. Cheese offers nearly unlimited pairing options, with each new combination creating something unique. Among the most classic presentations is a simple platter with two or three varieties of cheese, accompanied by seasonal fruits such as apples, grapes, and pears; nuts; and olives. Served with crackers or toasted baguettes, this combination allows the cheese to take center stage.
Assorted cheese arranged on a platter with olives, crackers, nuts, and grapes
Soft, spreadable varieties such as Brie and goat cheese pair nicely with a range of toppings. Fruit compotes offer a sweet twist while pesto can add a savory note. Smoked salmon can pair nicely with medium flavored cheeses. The intensity of blue cheese can be enhanced by serving it with marinated onions. For a truly unexpected twist, however, try serving a strong blue paired with honeycomb. The display will be astonishing with the amber honey and deep colors of the cheese offsetting one another. The sweetness of the honey will combine with the saltiness of the cheese to completely transform each flavor.

How to serveCheese plate with signs identifying cheese types and regions.
Consider the number of guests that will be attending your event. In general, plan on having two ounces of cheese for each person. Cheese is also best served at room temperature, so while it should be stored in a cold space to keep it fresh longer, cheese should be removed from the refrigerator at least an hour before it is served. Let people in on the secret of what you're serving too - it will likely inspire conversation. Try using signs to identify the name, type, and region of each cheese.

When considering how to select cheese there is really no wrong answer. Some simple suggestions include varying the texture by purchasing at least one soft, semisoft, and hard variety. For a cheese course integrated into a meal, try lighter cheeses such as those made from goat's milk for early courses and richer varieties for dessert or after dinner offerings.
Choosing cheeses made from the same type of milk is one route for creating a unified display, while choosing cheeses each made from different types, such as goat, sheep, and cow's milk capitalizes on variety. Similarly, cheeses from one textural style or family could be served, such as all different types of blues. This would highlight the subtleties of each distinct cheese and leave guests marveling at the diversity that exists within a narrow category.

Baguette slice with aged cheddar, apples, and pecan-apricot spread
Serving regional cheeses is another theme that could be embraced, as is a world tour of cheese varieties. The thematic possibilities are endless. At Taste the World we carry a variety of quality cheeses and would be happy to help you select the perfect combination, arrangement, and accompaniments. We can also create a ready-to-serve platter especially for your event.


Current Varieties
Our selections change periodically as cheeses occassionally become unavailable or we add additional varieties.


Kasseri (Greek)

Sharp and salty with a hard cheddar-like texture, this variety is good as a grated or table cheese. It pairs well with fresh fruit and Champagne, white or rose Zinfandels.


Parmigiano Reggiano (Italian)

Parmisan with apples, walnuts, honey, and balsamic vinegarA sweet and fruity aroma and piquant flavor characterize this cheese. Primarily used for grating, slices can also be shaved off the block and paired with apples, honey, a touch of aged balsamic vinegar, and toasted walnuts for a sweet and savory dessert or appetizer. It pairs well with baguettes, sea salt crackers, fruit, dried sausage, and red or white wines.

Smokey Blue (USA)
This variety has a sweet flavor of caramels and hazelnuts and pairs beautifully with oatcake crackers, honey, sauterne wines, and Rauch beer.

Manchego - El Trigal (Spanish)
From LaMancha-the land of Don Quixote-this cheese is sharp and nutty with
hints of caramel. Grass belts are used to shape the curds. This unique variety pairs well with baguettes, membrillo (quince paste), dried apricots, and medium-bodied, fruity red wines.

Kefalograviera (Greek)
A newer Greek cheese, this type is hard with a salty flavor. It is good as a grated or table cheese, and can also be roasted or fried.

Red Dragon Cheddar (Wales)
This cheese is moist and tangy, made with Welch brown ale and whole mustard seeds. It is an outstanding melting cheese and pairs well with baguettes,
ales, Shiraz, and Zinfandel.

Bleu D'Auvergne (France)
A spicy cheese with notes of grass and wild flowers. Pair it with nuts, raw mushrooms, apple slices, Sauterne, Port, or strong red wines.

Irish Dubliner Cheddar (Ireland)
This cheese has a sweet and nutty flavor and hard texture. An excellent melting cheese, it pairs well with with crusty bread, pear slices,
Merlot, Cabernet, and Chardonnay.

Pecorino Romano (Italian)
Rich cream flavor and mildly crunchy granulars dominate this cheese. It is an excellent grating cheese and works well to thicken and flavor cream sauces.

Brie (France)
Brie is the quintessential cheese of royalty, with a rich fruity taste, soft creamy center and edible rind. It pairs well with both sweet and savory flavors. Try it with apple slices and other seasonal fruits, compotes, or top with Wildly Delicious Brie Brulées in flavors such as chocolate, hazelnut, and sea salt. Also pairs well with wafer or wheat crackers and Champagne, red Bordeaux, and Burgundy wines.

Purple Haze (California)
A Chèvre (goat's milk cheese) flavored with wild fennel pollen and lavender. It pairs well with apple slices, Zinfandel, Sauterne, Port or other strong red wines. Broil it on French bread for a great salad accompaniment.

Wensleydale (England)
A gentle and unpretentious cheese, this variety has a slightly sweet honey flavor and a crumbly texture. Pair it with apple slices, apple pie, crusty bread, tea, or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Olives and peppers in appetizer dishes.

At Taste the World we also carry a variety of olives, toppers, spice crusts, compotes, cheese serving utensils, and platters. This is a one-stop shop for all your cheese platter needs. Don't relegate cheese to the realm of special events, however, because our excellent selection is perfect for cooking as well. Using a specialty cheese will impart a flavor into sauces, salads, and pastas that will make all your cooking shine. Or pick up some artisan cheese selections, pair them with a green salad, some crusty bread, and a great wine to make a weeknight dinner extra special.
Olive



Pecan spread