When it comes to preparing a delicious holiday spread this holiday season, it’s all about sourcing the right ingredients. Heirloom LA is our go-to resource for locally-sourced, responsible – and incredibly delicious – catering and cheese plates are one of the things they do best! Here are Tara Maxey’s seven steps for building a knock-out gourmet cheese plate – complete with a recipe for seasonal persimmon jam…
December is for entertaining, and with that comes the necessity of providing elegant snacks. Cheese platters are our top sellers at over the holidays because they are so pretty and satisfying. At Heirloom LA we make the choice to source our in-house cheeses from local artisans and we change which ones we feature each month just as we change their fruit accompaniments. For the best pops of colors and flavors, it’s important to keep your produce seasonal.
It’s just as easy to make a crowd-pleasing cheese platter yourself as it is to miss the mark. Here are some useful tips to ensure a hit:
How To Build The Perfect Cheese Plate In 7 Steps
Mix things up:
Choose three to five cheeses with varying textures and colors. Mix hard cheeses with soft cheeses, as well as cheeses with contrasting rinds that you keep intact when slicing.
Put in some effort:
Whole blocks of cheeses are pleasing as a centerpiece but look unfinished when plopped together on a platter with a knife. It sends the message to guests to “do it yourself” which is fine for a BBQ but not so much for a cocktail party.
those Knife Skills:
Work to keep consistent knife cuts, especially for medium-soft cheeses like cheddar. For harder cheeses, like Parmesan, break off chunks and build them up atop each other for a rustic appeal.
Include raw, seasonal bite-sized fruits, but don’t make your guests work to eat them. Remove pits from dates, slice your citrus, set free your pomegranate seeds, etc.
Incorporate cooked fruits like jam and pate de fruit. See recipe below for a quick and easy persimmon jam.
Olives in oil:
Rinse your olives to get rid of that harsh brine taste. Slowly cook them in olive oil with citrus peels and herbs for a lovely touch.
Take raw nuts up a notch by tossing in olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary sprigs, and then roasting in an oven at 350 F until toasted.
Dress things up
Don’t forget vessels for these delights. Choose crackers and breads in different shapes and sizes, and then place them throughout your platter as accessories rather than uninteresting heaps. Finish with edible flowers and herbs.
HeirloomLA’s Persimmon Jam
3 brown turkey or fuyu persimmons (we get ours from Penryn Orchard at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market)
dash of pepper
jar of good honey (we use Energy Bee from SMFM)
1 hachiya persimmon (we get ours from Penryn Orchard at the Wednesday SMFM)
Slice a few firm persimmons.
Season with fresh cracked black pepper.
Drizzle with a sustainable, raw honey.
Next, smash a very ripe hachiya persimmon, and mix everything together.
Taste and add more honey if necessary.
Presto! Jam! Enjoy!
Feel like skipping the DIY altogether? Order a beautiful cheese platter directly from Heirloom LA, here!