In those wily hours before the Thanksgiving meal, when there is hunger and pacing, it becomes clear that they need something to munch. I like to have lots of veggies out ahead of time, but I also love serving a Thanksgiving cheese platter.
Like I said in my Thanksgiving budget post, I budget extra for cheese.
(I love it that much.)
It might be because cheese is easy.
(Woah, easy cheese.)
It requires no oven,
it’s portable and
other than putting it on a plate,
requires virtually no preparation.
Because Thanksgiving is one of THE major American holidays, American cheese we shall serve.
(No not AMERICAN cheese. American cheese made by American Cheesemakers.)
Autumn is THE best season for cheese.
This is it, primo time for semi-young cheese (aged 60 to 90 days).
A perfect time for cheese made from summer-grazing animals.
Longer-aged cheeses are perfect now too — my darling Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue is just… kissable right now.
Lots of folks have great tips for Thanksgiving cheese plates.
Here are mine.
Three hours before your Thanksgiving meal, take the cheese out of the fridge and set cheese on the plate.
Two hours before the Thanksgiving meal is to be served, we put out the veggie plate. It’s really better for everyone if we eat more veggies in the pre-Thanksgiving wandering.
One hour before the Thanksgiving meal, put out the cheese and fruit plate. I go light on the bread and crackers because we’re saving room in our bellies for gravy and stuffing. (Well, at least I am.)
Recommended Thanksgiving Cheeses
These are all made in the USA.
These are all grandparent approved.
These all pair well with the relaxed pickery of the day.
Franklin’s Teleme is the cheese we go mad for. Seriously, it has Cheesewhizzes everywhere bumping elbows with each other on their way to the platter. It’s runny, it’s fancy, it’s local and quite frankly, it tastes damn good.
ROGUE RIVER CRATER LAKE CHEESE
There’s a reason this cheese wins best American cheese year after year. It’s neither too stinky nor too pungent, a fabulous cheese
for even grandparents and non-blue cheese lovers.
Humboldt Fog is a lovely — almost citrussy cheese pleaser. This mild cheese has a beautiful layer of edible vegetable ash tucked through the middle that not only adds to the flavor, it adds to the beauty.
Fiscalini cheddar is another cheese that just can’t disappoint anyone. Really. It’s wrapped, turned, loved and is a spectacular friend to all kinds of wine. Just try it.
PLEASANT RIDGE RESERVE
Yet another best cheese in America, Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese hails from Uplands Cheese Co., located in my motherland, Wisconsin. The extra-aged version of this raw-milk cheese is nutty, salty and buttery, like all good things in life.
Round out your cheese plate
Grapes are a smart and simple addition to your cheese plate. Bunches of herbs work too. But I really like to serve some flavored nuts for crunchy contrast. Oh hey! I even brought you the recipe!
Recipe for Salty Maple Balsamic Pecans
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup shelled pecan halves
1 tablespoon good quality sea salt
Put foil or parchment paper on your baking sheet. Heat your oven to 325°
Mix together maple syrup and balsamic vinegar in a medium bowl.
Add pecans and stir it all up until everything is covered.
Spread it all onto the pan and bake for 15 minutes, until the pecans are bubbling and browned.
Sprinkle sea salt over the warm pecans. Let them cool.
Then store them for up to a week.
I recommend you make these nuts the weekend before Thanksgiving so it’s one less thing to worry about.