Would love some ideas on creating a simple cheese platter with 3 to 4 cheeses and the wine that should go with!
The cheesemongers at the Bedford Cheese Shop helped us with this guide to making a cheese plate!
Also the cheesemongers and sommeliers at WF tend to be pretty knowledgeable. If you tell them what your plan is, they will help you make good choices.
Don't pick too many cheeses--it muddles the palate and gets really messy. It sounds like you were thinking 3 to 4 cheeses anyway, which is a good number. You'll want to have varying tastes and textures. I highly recommend a good, strong blue cheese--Rogue Creamery makes a couple fabulous blues, but good ol' gorgonzola or roquefort are always appreciated.
Have one gooey, messy, washed-rind cheese such as époisses or Winnimere (by Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont--if you can get your hands on this one, you'll be on top of the world--it's that good) or even limburger.
Have one fresh, soft cheese such as a good chèvre or fresh sheep's milk cheese.
Finally, have one hard, well-aged cheese. A 24 to 27-month comté is a lovely thing. As is one of those shockingly old goudas with the little crunchy calcified bits in it. Or, you might opt for an American farmstead clothbound cheddar or something similar. The American cheese scene is booming--there are so many amazing cheeses out there right now. Try to find some of them.
As for wine, I would always stick with white when pairing with cheese. The specifics are up to you, but a fairly dry, crisp white wine is much appreciated with a cheese plate.
Also supply your guests with good quality bread or flatbread crackers, some dried fruit (figs and apricots are really nice), and Marcona almonds.
Hope this helps!
Excellent rundown on selections and variety, petitbleu! And also for white wine with the cheeses. Yes there are a few cheeses that are complimented by red wine, but not nearly as many as by white wine.
Thank you all for your suggestions.....gives me a place to start!!!
Petitbleu, I love your description of Oude Gouda! Great summary too- one blue, one soft, one hard makes for a great cheeseboard.
I'd also say that it's wrth speaking to your cheese monger/the person on the cheese counter as they'll know what's ripe/recommend a nice local cheese/suggest something you might not have thought of. They ay also point you in the direction f a wine in store that's a good match too...
Three Christmas' ago I asked a new cheese monger for the usual festive selection. She persuaded me to allow her to select just three cheeses from one region, for a family party she then sleeted three cheeses or a particular type from different areas and we have been following the same theme ever since and they have always gone down really well. It really helps focus on the cheese and with just three it doesn't become a dominating part of the meal/evening.