Summer is in full swing which means it’s time for memorable get-togethers and gatherings! Spending time with loved ones and friends enjoying appetizers and cold drinks is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. One of the biggest challenges of entertaining is finding the perfect appetizer to please everyone. Pairing a perfectly mastered cheese and meat platter is a great way to have a fun, crowd-pleaser that is sure to be a hit!
When putting together your meat and cheese platter, picking out the right combination of meats and determining that perfect cheese pairing can seem overwhelming. There are so many options! Luckily, Gift Tree has done the hard part and we’re here to help you put together the perfect cheese and meat platter that will leave everyone coming back for more.
When determining that special cheese to compliment the cured meat on your platter, it is important to keep in mind that opposites are what lead to the perfect combination. For firmer, thicker cut meat use a softer cheese and for that paper-thin slice of meat make sure you are picking out a firmer, denser cheese. Below we’ve listed a few pairings that are sure to be crowd pleasers:
Goat and Sheep Cheese and Encased Meats
Encased meats are cured in a casting and are usually aged in a more humid environment, in turn creating a softer, flavorful cured meat. The most common of these are sausage and salami. These meats offer a bold and spicy taste with a strong presence of black and red pepper, truffle, and other spices. These meats are best paired with a creamy, softer cheese. A good goat or sheep’s milk cheese will have an almost cooling effect and bring out the subtler flavors of the meat that are usually overpowered by the spices. This gives the meat a whole new side of flavor to enjoy. A good gift option that brings together these flavors is our Charcuterie and Personalized Tasting Board.
Ham and Cheese
One of the most classic partners of cheese is ham. With a variety of different hams and cheeses, finding the perfect combination of the two can be tricky. We’ve found that for more smoky and sweeter ham, try a softer cheese such as Muenster or Swiss. Both are excellent options because they smooth out the smoky, more intense flavors while bringing out the natural flavor of the meat. For more savory and salty ham, consider a firmer, bolder cheese such as an aged sharp cheddar or our specially imported Cantalet Dore found in our Palais Royale Experience gift. The acidity of these cheeses creates a nice tangy flavor balance and helps bring out the other flavors of the ham.
Prosciutto and Parmigiana Reggiano
Prosciutto is an Italian style dry-cured ham. Cut paper-thin, it is extremely flavorful and will be a great addition to any charcuterie plate. This melt-in-your-mouth meat has an almost sweet butter taste with hints of hazelnut. Pair this meat with another Italian delicacy: Parmigiana Reggiano. This dry, coarse cheese pairs fantastically with Prosciutto due to its acidity and slight nutty flavor. Together, this combination is an Italian masterpiece. A gift that brings together these two Italian flavors is our Cheese Tasting Celebration.
To view a complete selection of our masterfully paired cheese and meat gifts, please click here.
Tell us about your favorite cheese and meat pairing, comment below!