27 December 2012

How Much Cheese is Enough?

Recently I was asked to set up some sample cheese plates for a local business. At first I was more concerned with the cheese choice. Only when I was laying the cheese on the plate did I realize how essential the amount of cheese is for such a venture. When I sit down with a piece of cheese I'll often just eat with no regard to how much I've consumed. This, of course, is a testament to my love of fromage. When there are other factors involved (multiple cheeses and extras) it's a whole different story.

I set up a few plates. The first was designed to be an all American plate: cheddar, a blue, and a chevre. This combination is nice because you could fill all the cheeses from various regions of the country if you wanted to keep it more local. And on this plate I set out 1.5oz of each cheese along with some filler (almonds, figs, etc). 1.5oz turned out to be way too much cheese.

On the next round I went with an Italian theme: burrata, a toscana, and a piave. This time I switched to 1oz of each cheese which was much more manageable. It's possible that even .75oz would have been sufficient but I think 1oz is a nice amount. Filling for one person and share-able for two.

And if you keep the cheese choice reasonable, so too will be the cost of the entire cheese plate. At wholesale prices just the cheese (@ 1oz / cheese) was under $2 per plate.

And in terms of extras - they mostly hovered around $.30 per item. In order of cost: sliced baguette, figs, chutney, almonds, tapenade. And the only very expensive and very delicious extra was the prosciutto. A guilty pleasure.


  1. Nice. I'm not sure I can think about what Toscana tastes like. Is it a firm cheese? I will have to look out for that next time.

    It terms of cheese serving size, you can definitely overdo it. I think it depends on the setting. For example, on a cheese dessert plate at a fine restaurant, which has, say, 4-5 cheese samples, the pieces are usually quite small. The extras (figs, nuts)often make up a substantial part of the dish. I think especially with several different cheeses, you want to be more in the 0.75 range. Quality over quantity. On the other hand, when you've packed a lunch to go out for a hike or to the beach, sometimes nothing is better than taking a big hunk of parmigianna or manchego and devouring it.

  2. Yeah, I like that--about one ounce of each cheese should be good. The extras is where I would get completely lost, because I would get everything I could.