Cheese Platter Nation
Holiday season is upon us, and at the shop that translates to platter season! On the day before Thanksgiving, Brie and I get to the shop around 6am to start piling cheese, meats, nuts, olives, pickles, jams, and other tasty morsels onto round, black platters. Just like the rest of the Thanksgiving rush, it’s exciting and exhausting. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve are the times of year when I have a tiny inkling of how hard it must be to be a writer or artist because you have to be creative on demand over and over and over again. And each time it must be THE BEST and AWESOME! By the end of the day, I always feel kind of wrung out, squeezed of every drop of plating ability I have. At the same time, I love these days because so many of our platters are heading out into the world to be happily devoured at the boisterous family parties, the Friendsgivings, the cozy gatherings.
Brie and I make most of the platters but sometimes Chris is recruited, and each of us have a different approach to plattering (yes, we made it a verb). Chris, a culinary school graduate, preps everything before he even starts. He neatly cuts his cheese, slices meat, and gathers any other extras he might use, very chefy. Brie and I use a more freewheeling technique where we pick and choose as we go but we generally start with placing all the cheese, then filling in with other goodies. Brie tends to use straight lines, while I like curving patterns. Now, some of our customers say they can pick out who did what platter when we post a picture on our Instagram, which is flattering, but also motivates me to try to do something new. This is a challenge when cheese can only be cut into squares, rectangles, triangles, or maybe the occasional circle. We can’t use anything too dry and crumbly or too oozy and soft. Meat can be sliced, rolled or folded, which is also restricting. So while the focus is certainly in the cheese and/or meats, we rely on fruit, pickled things, olives and crackers for more interesting colors and shapes. And they also happen be delicious pairings with cheese!
That brings me to the other, and most important, part of making platters – the food itslef! Even though Brie, Chris and I have different prep and visual styles, our main goal is to always make something that is TASTY. Depending on the size of the platter, we use between five and ten different types of cheese. With that number of cheeses, we try to have a variety of styles – Alpine, blue, soft, semi-firm, firm, cow, sheep, goat, Italian, British, American, and so on – and that way, everyone will hopefully find something they love! Our favorite thing to hear from customers is that everyone thought the platter was so pretty! And then they DESTROYED IT!!
Now you know all our plattering secrets! Well, calling them secrets is too dramatic. Now you know all our plattering techniques. If you’re getting one for Thanksgiving or any other time, have fun demolishing it. If you’re creating one yourself, have an awesome time making it, and then demolishing it!
For the love of cheese and holiday craziness,