Create your own cheeseboard for your Diwali party platter – Times of India

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Planning to host a Diwali party at home and looking for something different to serve, other than common mithais and snacks? A DIY cheeseboard can be an option. While cheeseboards (with platters) that are available in the market can be expensive or might not meet your expectations in terms of the quality of cheese or accompaniments, creating your own cheese board at home can be an interesting activity. As Gurgaon resident and an admin of the social media page Gurgaon Foodie, Shefali Saxena, says, “Cheeseboards are popular these days and whatever I saw online that was available for sale was hugely expensive or else had hardly any cheese.” So, she and her daughter created their own cheese board at home.
Chef Vijay Dubey from The Lalit adds, “Cheese platter is one of the easiest DIY things, one can simply buy the variety of cheeses starting from Rs 200 onwards and accompaniments from a supermarket and arrange them as per one’s individual liking. You can elevate your platter by adding add flavours like sweet paprika, pepper, cumin, parsley, mint, thyme and rosemary.”

Chef Sanjyot Keer suggests using a big wooden board to plate a cheeseboard. “I usually prepare flavoured cream cheese at home. It’s pretty simple, boil milk and heavy cream together, curdle it, strain it and grind it immediately with some butter or additional cream. Blend it until it’s very smooth. Your homemade cream cheese is ready. You can then prepare various flavours like garlic, peri-peri, coriander pesto and more by adding, scouring and blending it with the cream cheese. You can also just make a cream cheese-based cheese board and serve it along with some bread, crackers, pita crisps, fruits, etc.”

Basics to keep in mind while preparing a cheeseboard
■ A cheeseboard should be a mixture of cheesy/salty/sweet with some freshness from fruits

■ Use a large platter/tray if you don’t have a cheeseboard

■ Cheese knives look fancy, but just put a butter knife works well for soft cheese too. For hard cheese, it’s best to cut it in advance and put some toothpicks or small forks

– Inputs by Shefali Saxena

What to keep in mind while selecting cheese

Textures and flavours are the two most important things we should keep in mind while selecting cheese, say chefs

■ Most cheese belongs to one of four basic categories: aged, soft, firm or blue. For a good variety, choose at least one from each group. Some examples of aged cheese are aged cheddar, soft cheese – Camembert, firm cheese – Manchego and blue cheese – Gorgonzola

■ Serve at least one familiar cheese and 28gm of each cheese to every guest. About five types of cheese are perfect for any size party

■ For a party where cheese is the main dish, plan on buying 150gm for each guest

■ If you know from experience that one type of cheese is always the most popular, purchase extra of that variety and a little less of the less familiar cheese

■ There should be a good mix of hard and soft cheese. For hard cheese, one can have mature cheddar, parmesan/ Grana Padano, Edam or smoked cheese. It is good to have feta cheese on a cheeseboard, cut and drenched in olive oil.

– Inputs by chef Nishant Choubey and Gaurav Lavania, Executive Chef, Welcomhotel Sheraton New Delhi


Accompaniments for your cheese platter


■ Crackers are a must. One may find crackers of different brands at the nearest supermarket

■ Breads – be it lavash, breadsticks, sliced and toasted baguettes, or crostini garlic bread – are a must as well

■ Accompaniments like olives, cherry tomatoes, gherkins, and mixed dry nuts like walnuts or figs can be scattered throughout the board. Moreover, grapes, especially black or red globe, mustard or jams pair beautifully with cheese

■ Other veggies that can be added are baby cucumbers, baby carrots, celery sticks

■ One can also add some pickles, like jalapeno, gherkins and capers

■ One can also add homemade sweet (marmalade, preserves or honey) and savoury (pesto, mustard or hummus) dips. Keep one sweet and one savoury dip

■ If you want to add cold cuts then add 3-4 packs each of pepperoni, salami, ham

– Inputs by Gaurav Lavania, Executive Chef, Welcomhotel Sheraton New Delhi, and Shefali Saxena, admin of Gurgaon Foodie group on social media



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