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Artful Appetizers

May 23, 2024

Artful Appetizers
When it comes to crafting cheeses, Wisconsin cheesemakers are scientists and artists. Delicious masterworks like Schroeder Käse Triple Creme Brie, Widmer's Aged Brick and Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics® Fresh Mozzarella are a testament to their skill and passion. These cheeses inspired this trio of attention-grabbing plates. Each artful arrangement is a feast for the eyes. An exciting palette of colors, textures and summer flavors combine for a cohesive tasting experience worthy of any special occasion. Learn how to make these sophisticated, restaurant-quality appetizers with our tips for assembling them, and create a moment your guests won't soon forget. With Wisconsin Cheese, dreaming up stunning, edible works of art like these is only limited to your imagination.

three women behind kitchen counter

Serve Up A Sensory Experience

Imagine the anticipation as you serve a striking cheese plate to your guests. With all their unique characteristics and flavor notes, artisan cheeses are the perfect medium for culinary self-expression. Intertwine exquisite cheeses with seasonal ingredients, and then up your entertaining game by transforming basic cheese plates into high art. Here are some guidelines for plating that engages the senses.

Above All, Be Intentional

Stick to six elements or less per dish for ease. Each component should have a purpose and elevate the cheese, with beauty being the next priority. When unsure, err on the side of simplicity and let the cheese be the star. Lastly, garnishes like glazes, oils, herbs, sauces, and edible flowers give that finishing touch and round out the sensory experience of the cheese.

Next, Consider Your Canvas

Select a plate that strengthens the aesthetic of your overall display. The right plate size and color are essential when creating eye-catching effects. Achieve balance by evenly distributing elements on the plate. Complementary napkins provide a subtle backdrop that allows ingredients to pop.

three women behind kitchen counter

How To Elevate Your Cheese Pairings

The goal is to make the first bite as tasty as the last. When melding the textures, aromatics, colors and flavors of the other elements with cheese, consider these three basic principles:

  1. Coordinate similar attributes. Layering flavors and aromas amplify their intensity, turning up the volume on flavor. For example, a nutty parmesan can have caramel notes. Pair it with roasted nuts and caramel sauce to highlight the shared traits.
  2. Harness the power of opposites. Create interest with various textures and flavors. Serve soft and creamy cheeses with crunchy nuts and veggies. The acidity of berries, vinegar reductions, and pickled veggies cuts through the rich mouthfeel of cheeses.
  3. Strive for balance. Match a light fresh cheese with other delicate flavors and textures. A rich, assertive cheese like a six-year cheddar can drown out lighter accoutrements. Instead, pair it with savory charcuterie or fruity jams to complement the cheese’s sharp flavor.

whipped brie and roasted cherry bites
Make it: Whipped Brie and Roasted Cherry Bites

This fun cheese plate starts with soft-ripened Schroeder Käse Triple Creme Brie crafted with extra heavy cream for its signature velvety texture and buttery flavor. The cheese is blended with citrus zest and honey and shaped into quenelles. Roasted sweet-tangy cherries and crunchy candied pecans are a delectable counterpoint to the rich, creamy cheese. Fanciful sweet cherry balsamic glaze imparts a deep color and acidity.

whipped brie and roasted cherry bites plating

Serving Tip: Unleash Your Creativity With Quenelles

Soft-ripened cheeses like brie or camembert-style Hoard’s Dairyman Farm Creamery St. Saviour are lush and creamy and can be sculpted into quenelles. Push and scrape the cheese into the quenelles’ smooth egg-like shape with two spoons. They’re a memorable element on the plate.

summer plum and brick bites
Make it: Summer Plum and Brick Bites

Crafted as cheesemakers did in the late 19th century, Widmer’s Aged Brick is a wash-rind, nutty specialty that reaches its peak pungency after three to five months of aging. A river of grilled plums, soppressata and candied walnuts provides visual contrast to the brick wedges. The sweet pairings moderate the cheese’s savory, tangy and pungent notes. A swoosh of spicy chocolate sauce bridges the flavors together.

summer plum and brick bites plating

Serving Tip: Introduce a Sense of Intrigue with Movement

Unexpected elements like a swoosh of sauce, made by dropping a dollop on the plate and dragging the back of a spoon to pull it down, add style points. This flavor burst is a dynamic component, encouraging the eye to explore the plate. A curvy layer of fruit and charcuterie balances the look with height and textures.

thai pineapple and mozzarella bites
Make it: Thai Pineapple and Fresh Mozzarella Bites

Prepare for a sensory delight when fresh mozzarella is paired with grilled pineapple and skewered on fragrant rosemary sprigs. The light, refreshing pineapple, with its sweetness and acidity, makes an excellent foil for this mild and milky farmstead cheese. Finally, adding vibrant herby basil oil and mildly spicy chili oil dots to the pairing is attractive and easy. They enhance the delicate cheese with a sprinkle of colors and flavors.

thai pineapple and mozzarella bites plating

Serving Tip: Impress With Precision

Artfully place glazes and oils infused with herbs and spices on plates. Using tools like squeeze bottles for neat dots, sharp knives for precise cuts and tweezers for careful placement of ingredients gives your presentation a refined, professional look. Impress your guests with these details and mouthwatering designs.

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