Do you feel warm and cozy yet? I do just revisiting these photos! So here's the basics:
Serve a variety of different cheeses: different shapes, different textures, different regions... those are all important, in my opinion, for experiencing an array of different flavors and being able to keep things interesting in lieu of not serving an "actual meal."
Serve items that well compliment each selection of cheese: for example, if you're serving an extra sharp cheddar and a smooth, rich brie, don't just serve grapes to compliment "the cheese," serve toasted almonds and walnuts to compliment the brie and crisp green apples to compliment the cheddar.
Serve wine that will compliment your cheese selections: even if it means serving more than one type of wine... you want the wine to either pair well with or contrast the cheese. sometimes, the contrast of a sweet, full-bodied dessert wine to the strong bleu cheese veins is the perfect way to taste the complexity of the cheese. But a sweet wine won't pair very well with a sharp cheddar! So have an acidic, crisp white to pair with as well! Are you on a budget? Have a guest bring a bottle! That way, you're only providing one or two!
Always, always, always serve olive oil: to complement the bread, to complement the cheese, to complement the wine, to stick a straw in a drink! Just have it. Extra virgin is the only way to go. If you think it's not affordable, think again. head to Trader Joe's.
So what are you waiting for?! Next time you're perusing the grocery aisles and you see that FANCY, intimidating round case of world cheeses, approach it with confidence! Be adventurous! Always wanted to try that crumbly Parmesan- Reggiano? Dying to sink your teeth into that perfect white ball of Mozzarella? DO IT! Pick up a few complimentary produce items along the way and imagine how fabulous your evening is going to be around the table.
Great food, great friends, great conversation... isn't that what life's about?