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Cheese Tray Ideas for the Holidays Part 2

Creating a Stunning Cheese Platter for the Holidays continued

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There is something very appealing about entertaining during the holiday season when its cold outside – the greeting of guests as you shake off their snowflake-dusted coats, the clinking of glasses, the mix of conversation and laughter.

To me, this makes Christmas, Hanukah and New Years the best time to entertain . There are so many fabulous cheeses to purchase for sinful, decadent pleasures and also ones with unexpected fruity delights.

Continue reading with us as we venture on to make other fabulous cheese suggestions.

Fruit Pairings

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Fruit has the where-withal to turn your yummy cheese tray into a work of art. Not only do fruits enrich the cheese-tasting experience, fruits may also allow your cheese tray to be colorful and beautiful.

The pretty shapes of fruit may be filled into empty spaces on the tray. Make sure, however, that the fruit is placed near the cheese or meat it compliments.

5 Fruit and Cheese Pairing Ideas

Apples with Cheddar.

Cantaloupe and/or Honeydew with Prosciutto

NOTE: Use melon baller and place round pieces in bowl or place together with Prosciutto on skewers.

Pears or Cranberries with Warmed Brie

Grapes with all cheeses and meats

NOTE: Snip stems to make palm-sized clusters so that it is easier for guests to pick up.

Figs with Brie, Camembert, a sweet Gorgonzola and/or Sharp Cheddar.

Also consider serving lightly grilled peaches, fresh cherries or dried apricots.


Preserves are also heavenly paired with cheese and at Herma’s the choices are endless. Have fun experimenting or ask someone at our Cheese Shop for suggestions. My favourite? Garlic Expression’s Cranberry Garlic with Rum paired with Brie. Caramelized Onion Chutney is also lovely paired with warm goat cheese. And Sweet Apple Chutney is delicious when enjoyed with cheddars.

Pairing Wine with Cheese

When picking your wine you may either 1. choose a wine that compliments the cheese or 2. choose one that provides a nice contrast. You can’t go wrong either way.

Below are 2 other suggestions when pairing wine with cheese…

-Pair mellow wine with mild cheese so that the wine does not overpower the taste of the cheese.

-It is also nice to serve wine from the same region from whence the cheese originates.

Pairing ideas…

Port is a sweet wine that cuts through the tanginess of a blue cheese or Stilton, adding contrast.

A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with Gouda, Cheddar or any other strong-flavoured cheese. Neither overpowers the other.

Chardonnay pairs well with Gruyere as they have nutty undertones in common.

Champagne pairs beautifully with creamy, soft cheeses. The bubbly, fizzy burst in your mouth creates a nice balance with the mellow sweetness of Brie or Camembert.

List of Cheeses

Some of Herma’s other lovely cheese suggestions for holiday entertaining that weren’t mentioned in part 1 are the following:

  • Brebirousse D’Argental is an ooey-gooey sheep’s milk wonder produced in Lyon, France. This is a savoury cheese that is nutty and complex. It’s peachy/orange rind makes it a pretty cheese for your tray.
  • Brillat-Savarin Affine is one of France’s most beloved cow’s milk cheeses. Rich and buttery with a decadently milky flavour, it envelops the mouth with its creamy texture. So luscious, its sinful.
  • Reblochon is a semi-soft mountain cheese from France that was created from the second milking of cows. This yielded a cheese rich in fat with mildly fruity taste and nutty aftertaste. While beautiful on its own, this lovely cheese is also fabulous melted over potatoes.
  • Wensleydale Cheeses produced in the United Kingdom are semi-hard cheddars that are blended with fruits and other ingredients. They come in all sorts of festive flavours Cranberries, Chocolate, Caramelised Orange & Gin, Mustard and Ale, Apricots, Blueberries, Ginger and Jamaican rum, Sticky Toffee and Lemon. NOTE: Due to the abundance of cheeses we are carrying this holiday season, our Wensleydale Cheeses have been moved to a cooler just around the corner from our Cheese Shop.
  • Taleggio is a smear ripened Italian cheese that is relatively mild with an unusually fruity tang. It is washed in sea water every week for 6-10 weeks and kept on wood shelves. Not only is it lovely on a cheese platter, it is also divine grated over salads and melts well too. A favourite this time of year!
  • La Sauvagine is a soft, cow’s milk cheese from Quebec that ripens from the outside. On the inside it is moist and supple with runny ivory interior and fresh buttery taste complimented by hints of mushrooms. An award-winning cheese!

Serving Something Warm

Baked Brie

A fun idea that will take your holiday entertaining a step further is to offer baked brie. You may want to add festive condiments like walnuts, honey or cranberry preserves.

In the Cheese Shop we carry Brie Baker Pots and lovely mixes from Gourmet Village. Mixes involving Cranberries & Almonds -and- Pecan & Brown Sugar will make your baked brie something extra-special.

Brie Suggestion

Denise suggests using Belle Marie’s Double Crème Brie as it holds together nicely and isn’t overly pungent. Nice price too!


Another way to offer something warm is to set out a mini-fondue pot of ooey-gooey melted cheese.

We offer these little fondue pots, from BOSKA, on a shelf across from the Cheese Shop. Someone working in our Cheese Shop will be happy to help you locate it.

Cube crusty bread and offer toothpicks for a fun dipping experience.

We wish you well as you take on the delightful undertaking of a holiday cheese tray and hope you found these suggestions to be helpful.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy New Year’s to all! May you enjoy making merry during this season of good cheer.