Football season is on us!
This week marks the start of fall in our house- when the boys in orange and blue are back on tv. Which also means it is the start of entertaining and eating! Since hubby and I have been trying to eat better lately, I wanted to share one of our all time favorite football foods- which may seem a little unconventional, but it is always a crowd pleaser! We love to serve Gameday Fruit and Cheese Platters to give a little bit of a fresh twist on typical heavy, over processed football foods we normally love.
While not low on calories, we focus on fresh, organic if possible and high quality items. But creating a fruit and cheese platter can sometimes be confusing or hard to plan- I’m going to share our top tips with you to make sure its a hit every time.
First, we need to pick our cheeses.
I always start with three basic types of cheese so you can plan the rest of the board around that.
A fresh, soft cheese- brie, chevre, port salut, goat cheese, farm cheese, bousin, camembert, etc. (Our favorites: Haystack Mountain chevre, Haystack Snowdrop, port salut, Mouco camambert).
A hard, aged cheese- aged cheddar, aged gouda, smoked gouda, asiago, parmesan regiano, red leister, manchego, (our favorites: piave, roomano, euphoria, drunken goat).
A bloomy cheese- Blue cheese, and anything with a little bit of stinky funk. (Our favorites: morbier, maytag blue cheese, chimay). If you are a bit blue-skittish (like myself), if you can find Morbier (Kroger’s/King Soopers has been known to carry it), try that. It is pretty stinky, but the flavor is very mild and is easy to eat with just a hint of the blue cheese tanginess.
Once you have three types of cheeses planned out, you can add more, or just move to fruit, nuts and accompaniments.
Go with whatever is fresh in season- I love finding fresh figs and crisp apples- but you can also grab some berries or dried apricots. You want something that wont overpower the taste of the cheeses, but will help to “cut” some of the flavor in between tasting the different cheeses.
We add simple roasted nuts without extra sugar or salt- but candied walnuts or spiced nuts would go nicely as well.
When picking your crackers, make sure you keep your cheeses and guests in mind. Since my son is gluten-free we stick to simple rice crackers or gf crackers (Mary’s Gone Nuts has some AWESOME artisinal crackers), but you don’t want to overpower your cheeses with crackers that have a ton of flavors, either.
I like a blander cracker for the blue cheeses and aged cheeses- so it is not competing with their complex flavors. An herbal cracker- think rosemary or black pepper- is nice with soft cheese like chèvre (as long as that doesnt have the same herb in it) where it wont compete.
When serving, encourage guests to eat the cheese in the order above- soft, aged, then blue/funky. This helps them eat the milder cheeses first and work their way up to the strong cheeses. If you go out of order, you may end up with a mixed up palate (ever try tasting something after eating blue cheese and it tastes odd? It is such a strong flavor it sticks with you for a while- so it is best to leave it for the end).
There you go! Next time you’re planning out a football spread, go a little off the beaten path and make a delicious cheese platter!!!
Now let’s check out what some of my favorite friends across the blogosphere came up with to celebrate football season!
How cute are all of those? I’m dying to make my own!
What’s your favorite gameday appetizer?