Tips and Treats for a Holiday Cheese Basket



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I made this cheese basket for a ghoulish gathering of friends last weekend. Cheeseboards and baskets are fun to make and with a little thought and creativity can easily take center stage at a buffet table. I never tire of arranging and decorating them, using the season and holidays as inspiration. For this Halloween-inspired cheese basket I picked autumnal decorations with a creepy twist. I created a border of spiky, frizzy greens with dark, purplish leaves and black, woody garnishes. The cheese selection was equally ghoulish: ash-rubbed cheese, a moldy blue, stinky and runny cheese and orange pockmarked cheese. The crisps and crackers were dark, rough and seeded, weaving through the cheese like wood in the forest.

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All of the garnishes and decorations are edible and include:
Mustard greens, chicory, purple kale, frisée, miniature red pears, black radishes, burdock root, gourds and baby pumpkins, black olives, pumpkins seeds, dried currants and cranberries.

Crisps and snacks were chosen for color, shape and texture:
Corn nuts, black sesame rice crackers, cranberry hazelnut crisps,  crisp flatbread, and chunks of dense fig and almond cake.

Black slate created the background and lined the basket interior, provided a sturdy surface to cut the cheese while various wooden and black vessels contained wayward runny cheese and little nibbles.

Not only did the cheeseboard look good, it featured a thoughtful selection of cheese that ranged from soft and mild to strong and aged. When you gather a selection, try to balance it in strength, texture, flavor. As a starting point I often include a blue cheese, a creamy white-molded cheese such as camembert, a goat cheese and a hard alpine cow or sheep milk cheese.

Cheese pictured in this basket includes (clockwise from top center):

1.  Cowgirl Creamery Sir Francis Drake washed rind cheese with currants
2.  Sharp white Cheddar with a Purple Rind – selected for color
3.  Aged Gouda Saenkanter – an orange, sharp, nutty Dutch cows milk cheese
4.  Adante Dairy “Nocturne” cows milk cheese with gray mold and ash
5.  Seal Bay Triple Cream – mild, oozing and runny
6.  Gorgonzola Mountain – crumbly and streaked with blue
7.  Petit Brebiousse – a French ewe’s milk cheese with an orange rind

So have fun – enjoy all of the fabulous cheese and remember to save some for the guests. Bon appétit!

10 responses to “Tips and Treats for a Holiday Cheese Basket

  1. This is just gorgeous! The aged Gouda would be my favorite for sure. I love your creativity. :)

  2. That baslet looks amazing and so beautiful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. What an incredible cheese tray, perfect for your halloween gathering. Just gorgeous!

  4. This is such an amazing array, and arranged so beautifully! The decorations are stunning. I would take this over Halloween candy any day :-)

  5. I apologize for any typos there may be in this comment. It’s hard to type and wipe drool off your chin at the same time! Beautiful cheeses!

  6. That is by far the most amazing cheese board display I’ve ever seen. So creative and what a great mix of cheeses. really loved ready about how you put it together too, thanks!

  7. DROOL!!! I am a cheese Queen! That looks awesome.. c

  8. What a lovely idea. And just the perfect thing to balance all the sugar on Halloween!

  9. Beautiful – a work of edible art…

  10. Gorgeous! The idea is perfect and the presentation sublime.