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I am a newbie in this area and I know it is a challenging one.

The cheese table can have any type of cheeses. So I have been thinking about milk cheeses, blue cheeses and normal cheeses that can be eaten with some salty snacks and grapes.

However, a very good friend of mine said that to make a good cheese table is not only about money but how balanced it is to the given target group, but I will be serving a general audience, so I don't know how to plan well for them.

How would you make a balanced cheese table?

I have been thinking about Camembert as for a milk cheese, Roquefort as the blue cheese and some normal cheese. Does Camembert's creamy taste fit well with Roquefort's strong taste, as there are some salty snacks and grapes?

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I tried to clean up your question a bit, but I'm not really sure how to handle the stuff about "balanced to the given target group" - telling us that it's a group of girls doesn't tell us anything about their tastes, and I bet you don't know anything either. So I think you're really trying to ask how to plan for a group of people with unknown preferences. –  Jefromi Dec 11 '12 at 3:29
    
@Jefromi Yes, that is the problem. I need to plan a table for general audience that have probably little knowledge about cheeses, since they are students. –  Masi Dec 11 '12 at 19:32

2 Answers 2

The way I learned to set a cheese board:

  • Something Old
  • Something New
  • Something Goat
  • Something Bleu

Something Old - Aged, firm cheese like Asiago or St. George

Something New - Softer, milder cheese, like a Brie or Gouda.

Something Goat (or sheep) - A counterpoint to cow's milk cheese, like Manchego or Chèvre.

Something Bleu - Brisk and tangy, Roquefort or Gorgonzola or Stilton.

What you complement the cheese with depends on the cheese varieties you've chosen - apple slices, grapes, quince jam, mustards of the sweet and whole-seed variety, etc. Google can be your friend, here. Place the condiment close to its intended cheese in the final arrangement.

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One recommendation I have read--I cannot recall the source to cite it, but it may have been Alton Brown--is to select your cheeses from a particular region. So you might pick French cheeses, or Italian cheeses, or Wisconsin cheeses. You can usually find all types--runny, hard, blue, and so on in most of the regions.

This gives you a theme.

I am mot sure how the audience affects your cheese selection, unless it is US sports fans, in which case the melt-in-the-can fake nacho cheese is to be preferred. :-)

We may be up against regional terminology issues here, because I am not sure what a "milk cheese" is... all cheese is made from milk, although it might be cow's, goat's, or sheep's milk.

Truthfully, pleasing EVERYONE is always hard, so my rule is to pick something you know will be popular, like a mild to moderately sharp Vermont cheddar, or some real Parmesan, and then pick things that you like. That way, at least one person will be happy.

Also, not everyone can eat cheese for various reasons, so you might want to make sure your non-cheese snacks cover non-cheese eaters. Something like fruit and crackers usually will do it, and you may have it anyway. A little salumi is often a nice compliment to a cheese board as well, I think.

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+1 for "Not everyone can eat cheese" –  Yamikuronue Dec 11 '12 at 13:34

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