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14 August, 2011

Say Fromage!...or...Creating a Cheese Platter

044 I gave you a little hint at this post last week when I asked if you could guess what cows, sheep and goats have in common. The answer...their milk is used to make my all-time favorite food…cheese! So today I am creating a cheesescape to show you! I was already a cheese lover before I lived in France, but my time there made me hard-core! lol You cannot help but love cheese in a country that has over 400 recognized varieties of the stuff!

045It’s my daughter’s birthday weekend, so I pulled out my French Limoges cheese plates for the occasion. And…the vintage-inspired French tea towels that I made last week will go perfectly with the plates!

011 Each plate stars one of the milk producers and some of the cheeses that are made from their milk. This one stars sheep and shows the cheeses made from ewe's milk, among them my favorite…Roquefort!

013In the foreground of the cow plate is another favorite of mine…Emmental, or Swiss cheese, as it is known to most Americans.

047 Goat cheese is simply called chèvre in French, just the same as the word for goat! My favorite is chèvre cendré, in which the cheese is covered with a powdered vegetable ash, but it is virtually impossible to find here.

015Here is the fourth plate, displaying a little map of France and the geographic regions associated with the cheeses. The French government strictly controls the use of the names of the cheeses and confines them to the region where they are actually produced. It’s similar to the idea for us as Southerners that Vidalia onions must come from Vidalia, Georgia!

041 I will use this plate for serving the baguette…because you can’t have French cheese without French bread! Some people like crackers…but for me, it has to be a crusty baguette…bien sûr!

040Of course, there must be wine! I have chosen a good French red wine...Beaujolais-Villages…because it tends to be a medium-bodied red and I am shooting for the middle with my three cheeses. I must add that I am no wine aficionado, so you might consult a wine and cheese pairing website such as this one.

037 I have also included some butter in my wonderful silverplate butter dome…a favorite $6.00 Goodwill find a while back. I’ll explain more about the butter in just a moment. The basket is a recent GW find for $3.00. I was really excited to find it since I had been admiring it on several blogs!

039 And here is the most important part…the cheese platter! I am using three cheeses from three different milk sources and I have arranged them from mildest to strongest starting at the bottom going clockwise, as is the traditional method, although some people prefer to start at the top. I have also added a variety of fresh fruit…brown turkey figs, Bosc pears and red seedless grapes…to compliment the cheeses.

035 The mildest cheese is the chèvre, made from goat’s milk.

036 Next is the Emmentaler, or Swiss cheese, made from cow’s milk...

034 …and finally comes the strongest and my favorite, Roquefort, made from ewe’s milk. In fact, it is so strong that my French friends spread a little butter on the bread before adding the cheese to soften the taste a little bit. As for me, I can eat it straight! And, in case you are wondering how Roquefort is different from bleu, bleu cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a different  mold added to create the blue veins. None of the three cheeses is actually extremely mild, but my family tends to like the stronger cheeses.

018 Baby Kitty has a few tips for creating a cheese platter that he learned from his French friends:
~Take the cheese out of the fridge a couple of hours before serving it, cover it and let it stand. You can’t taste it when it’s cold!
~Serve an odd number of cheeses. It just looks better on the plate.
~Have a different knife for each cheese so that the tastes of the cheeses don’t mingle.
~Place them on the platter from mildest to strongest going clockwise.
~Leave the cheese whole and let your guests cut off what they want. It looks too much like it came from the deli if you pre-slice it.
~I am reminded by a comment from Mary that you should never cut off the pointed end (called the nose) of the cheese. As a guest, you would always cut your portion of the cheese so that you preserve its shape. Also...never dig the cheese out and leave the rind! Just a couple of cheese faux pas to avoid!
~More tips and suggestions for creating a cheese platter can be found here.

044 And there you have my cheesescape! Now if you will excuse me, I have company coming and we have some…er…props to clean up! Yummy!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my cheese platter!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures on Mondays
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Sizzle into Summer
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Leigh at Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday
Jill at French Cupboard for Voilà! French Inspiration on Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Fridays
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!


  1. Beautiful tablescape! And thanks, Debbie and Baby Kitty, for the tips on cheese!

  2. Now you are speaking my language, not French but cheese. I love to do a cheese platter for guest. It is a favorite of mine. I did not know about the tradition of clockwise from mildest to stronges. I like that idea. Goat cheese is also a favotite of mine. I can not wait to have a baguette and French Cheese while visiting France next year. I will be sure and try the cheese you are speaking of with the vegetable ash.
    one of my favorite to have with fig spread is from Spain, Manchego, strong first flavor and then mellows down to a wonderful nutty flavor. xo Kathysue

  3. Beautiful table, beautiful food and beautifully presented. Thanks for sharing, Richard at My Old Historic House.

  4. My birthday is in October!! I'll take cheese over a cake any day. I love the cheese plates!

  5. I love Cheese and this looks so good. I love your plates, how fun is that. Great lesson on the cheese too. Happy Birthday to Page. Have fun. Thanks also for linking to TTT. Hugs, Marty

  6. Your cheesescape looks wonderful Debbie! Roquefort is my all time favorite too! Martina

  7. cheese, bread and wine! What could be better? And that butter dome is adorable! I'm jealous! ha.

  8. Wonderful cheese table...looks yummy!


  9. Salut Debbie, Délicieux! Tout est beau! J'aime bien les assiettes! Je ne les ai pas vues. Quel bon repas! à demain! Linda

  10. That cheesescape looks SO temoting Debbie! Does Baby Kitty like cheese too? Sid enjoys a little from time to time ;o)

  11. What a lovely cheese offering...I would rather have cheese than any other foods. Love that butter dome.

  12. You had me at cheese. I am a cheese lover too. I actually fell in love with chevre when we lived in Europe. I just used it today. I use it in my sweet cream corn believe it or not, it adds a great tang to the sweetness and works wonderful as a thickener. I love to stuff figs with Roquefort, wrap them in some parma ham and bake slightly. OMG I could eat that forever. Now see what you have gone and done? I'm hungry! LOL

    Hope your daughter has a wonderful birthday celebration. Hugs

  13. Debbie, this is a beautiful post, along with so informative. I've never seen cheese look so pretty and yummy looking. Now, I'm going to have to go and get me a couple of slices of cheese.. hugs ~lynne~

  14. Debbie, save me a place and I will be right there. This looks so good. I will take the swiss. Love the plates and those wonderful towel/napkins you made. Lucky find with that large round basket.

  15. I'm with you on the baguette - no crackers for me. Thanks for the lesson on a cheese platter. Sally

  16. Debbie,
    This is magnificient!
    A lovely cheesescape, an informative lesson on regions of France and their cheeses, and my favorite member of your Staff! I agree, cheese taste better room temperature! Enjoy your celebration!

  17. Love the plates and fantastic information on the cheese. I found you via Southern Hospitality and am a new follower. The blue and white's I see in your photos and blog are making me swoon. Pop in for a visit if you get a moment. Thanks, Kathryn

  18. What a beautiful display of yummy cheeses! I love the plate set in a bed of lettuce which had been placed on a wicker tray. Such attention to details! ~ Susie

  19. So pretty and so special for the birthday celebrant. The napkins are a perfect pair for the plates. Happy birthday again to your daughter, Debbie...Christine

  20. Thanks for all the tips! Love your cheese scape.. it's quite beautiful and very appetizing. xo marlis

  21. I love your cheese presentation! Goat and sheep cheese, YUM! Love it. And, I think I want to kidnap (catnap?) your kitties.

  22. I love cheese! You are so creative Debbie.


  23. Bonjour! I was hoping I was one of the invited guests! Your cheese platter was so beautifully presented that I am left drooling over your post.

  24. That is a wonderful plate of cheeses Debbie. Roquefort is my favorite too and I eat a lot of chevre too.
    Have a wonderful week.

  25. Absolutely lovely! I am inspired to try this soon - I don't have the beautiful dishes, but I'll make do!

  26. This cheesecake has my mouth watering. I must try this myself soon! Very, very soon! Thank you for the inspiration!

  27. Lovely, Debbie! I'm a lover of cheese, too! Wonderful how your tea towels coordinate!

  28. What a beautiful cheese presentation! I usually serve a cheese plate at my parties but never knew to arrange the cheeses mildest to strongest, thanks for the tip! And I agree, cheese with a baguette is the best!

  29. You have the coolest "stuff"! In all the GW in Georgia, I've never found all the goodies you have. The Larousse was a find of all time!!! Perfect cheese platter and your accoutrements set it off beautifully.

  30. Now I'm hungry. Thank you for the lesson on cheeses. I'm going to invite some friends over for wine and cheese.

  31. Loved your plates Debbie and all the tips for making the platter. Have you ever tried Humboldt Fog chèvre? It's won many awards and is divine. Here is the link: You can find it in nicer grocers and gourmet grocers. It has the ash.

  32. When staying with a Mother of my daughter's friend in Nancy, France, I was reprimanded when I started to cut "the pointed end" off of a triangle of cheese. She told me one should always leave a triangle of cheese on the plate! Were you aware of that?

    Beautiful coloration with the green lettuce and cheeses. Roquefort, c'est mon favorit, aussi.

    Mary in Oregon

  33. Yes, Mary! That's called the nose and you never cut it off. You are supposed to leave the cheese in its original shape as you slice it. Isn't it funny that there's cheese etiquette?

  34. Thanks, Nanci! I will try that! I love chèvre cendré!

  35. Gorgeous table and yummy cheese! Thanks for those tips. Very inspiring post.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  36. A day is not complete if I haven't had any cheese. Your cheese tray is gorgeous. I learned a lot from your post; thanks for sharing such interesting information.

    I love your sweet napkins, too! Nice job.

  37. Oh Debbie! What a perfect cheesescape! And, for me, you can NEVER go wrong serving wonderful cheeses! My husband and I often make similiar cheese trays just for a special evening. I am going to try the spread some butter before the Roquefort. And your butter dome is to die for~! Thank you in advance for joining TTF. Have a fabulous week!

  38. OMG! That looks fabulous and I LOVE cheese. The plates are adorable and of course your so chic tea towels. The basket is perfect. Love it.
    Thanks to Baby Kitty for the serving tips. I never knew there were cheese faux pas. Who knew?
    I'm glad you told me.

  39. looks fabulous, i am sure your kitty enjoyed every little lick~

  40. Fabulous presentation! Everything is just wonderful. I love the way you set it on the lettuce, so pretty with the fruit and cheese. Nothing like great cheese.

  41. Debbie, this post is perfection! You do this all so well. The Limoges cheese plates paired with the new towels are a delightful combination. And that cheese tray is making me hungry. I think I need to make a trip to the kitchen to pull out the cheese for a little snack later. Thanks for all the tips. Beautiful post, Debbie!!!
    Best wishes to the birthday girl. ~ Sarah

  42. my eyes are feasting...the country style tablescape, the plates were such cuties :) and the cheeses...want some :)

  43. Oh have filled me with envy...not my best look. I adore your them...need them...want them! Gorgeous!

  44. Oh cheese... I love it, even used to have a little shop and sold it!

    My grandfather loved a cheese that was so strong and stinky, my grandmother made him keep it outside, suspended from a tree branch, AND eat it outside!

    Now that is a strong cheese.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE roquefort!
    Hubby loves Stilton -- but what does he know?
    PS LOVE the plates ... how darling.

  45. Love this!!! I look forward to seeing you at My Dream Canvas. Take care Anu

  46. Honey I loves your cheesescape

    and ya kitty


  47. Debbie, Your table and cheese plate is wonderful! I love the plates and your choice of cheese.
    Thanks for sharing at the Open House party and I hope you have a great weekend.

  48. I. Love. This. POST!!! This is a hard thing to pull-off....a pretty cheese tray presentation. I love the plates and the napkins. Everything is lovely, really!

    I am back from break. yay! I have missed reading my favorite blogs.

    Ricki Jill

  49. Love the Cheesescape! Those plates are perfect and I also love the basket. Of course, Baby Kitty's tips were very helpful:)

  50. Debbie,
    This is fantastic! I can't imagine all of the wonderful things you could learn about French food if you got to live there. This proves how little I know. How wonderful you showed us this. Great presentation of the cheeses of France. Thanks for linking it to Home Sweet Home!

  51. Alors! Who knew? You have saved me from being disgraced as a barbaric Américaine!

    Love cheese, it doesn't love me. I read that goat cheese has no lactose, but I wonder if that is true?

    Your presentation is beautiful -- wish I was there to share.



Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie