And by the classy way, I mean the few hours before you go out and drink your face off. Think of it as the sophisticated pre-game. After all, we are adults here. Make yourself a fancy cheese plate and sip a glass of red wine while you reflect on all of the special moments of 2011… because you will probably be spending the first few hours of 2012 with your face in a toilet.
Here are some cheese plate tips from RealSimple.com:
Selecting the Cheese
Try to include a variety of textures and flavors. 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.
Aged: Aged Cheddar, Comte, Goat Gouda
Soft: Constant Bliss, Camembert, Brillat-Savarin
Firm: Manchego, Mimolette, Parmigiano-Reggiano
Blue: Gorgonzola Dolce, Valdeón, Stilton
You can also try selecting cheeses by the type of milk used (cow, goat, sheep). This will ensure a range of different flavors on the plate.
Serve at least one familiar cheese.
Offer a selection of breads, including sliced baguette, bread sticks, and crackers in all different shapes and sizes. It’s a good idea to vary taste and texture among the breads as well as the cheeses.
Jarred condiments and vegetables are quick and fuss-free. Try sweet preserves or honey, tart chutneys, and spicy mustards. You can also add artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and caponata. If you have a bit more time, prepare caramelized onions, which complement most cheese plates.
Various other sweet and salty items can work as well. Try cured meats such as prosciutto and salami, or candied nuts and pistachios. Assorted seasonal and dried fruits can include figs, cherries, apples, and pears.
Photo by MarcLaFountain