Assembling a stunning fruit and cheese platter requires no cooking. I follow a few key principles to be sure it looks festive and is easy for guests to help themselves. First, I choose an interesting assortment of cheeses—hard sharp cheeses, soft creamy ones, and pungent blue cheeses. I look for an interesting mix of flavors, textures, and colors. For example: French Camembert, Le Chevrot (a sharp goat cheese), Rondin with herbs (a creamy goat cheese), and Montagnolo (a creamy blue cheese).
Go to the best cheese shop in town and ask the person at the counter which cheeses are ready to serve. Taste everything; they expect you to. We all know that the Brie may look terrific, but it can be underripe and tough or overripe and ammoniated. You want only the freshest cheeses that are perfectly ripened. Take them home, refrigerate them, and then bring them to room temperature a few hours before serving.
Second, be sure to have a platter or wooden board that is flat and large enough to hold the cheeses without crowding them. Arrange the cheeses with the cut sides facing out, and with several small cheese knives, maybe one for each type of cheese.
Third, to finish the platter, add sliced breads or crackers, and green leaves. I use either lemon or galax leaves, which you can get from your florist. If you have a garden, any large flat leaf like hydrangea looks beautiful, but be sure they aren't poisonous and are pesticide-free!
Overall, the simpler the design, the better the platter looks. Group each kind of cheese together and add one large bunch of green or red grapes in the center to create a visual focal point. Fill in the spaces with lots of crackers or small slices of bread.
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» 23m ago
Being a frugal spender, and somebody who shops online a lot, I'm keen to hear from others how they go about cutting through all the daily sales & marketing "BS" from retailers to uncover offers which in reality offer good value. I've grown tired of the charade where retailers try to sell us everything under the sun at an apparently "unbeatable" prices. So I've begun seeking out ways to determine where the best deals are online at any given time. Once I've found a seemingly good deal on something, my basic process afterwards to confirm this is as follow: 1. Run a quick google search to price compare it against what other stores are charging (i.e. ignore RRP and focus on the actual market price). 2. If the price looks competitive, try to find ways to get it for even less (i.e. any coupon codes offering discounts available, do I get any extra discount for signing up to the online store's free newsletter, etc). 3. Check shipping rates, as these can vary wildly for online orders between different retailers (often effecting the overall competitiveness of the product). There's also other techniques I use (like where to look for the best offers in the first place), but this is probably a good starting point for now. What about you?
» 3h ago