There's nothing like a platter of yummy cheeses to make us swoon with delight. Typically a mixed bag (er, board) of tasty hunks of flavor, the cheese plate is a solid start to any meal (or party, or happy hour, or Netflix marathon...).
Aged, soft, creamy, smelly -- the endless varieties and and styles are right at home next to breads, jams, nuts and dried fruit. Along with charcuterie and big glasses of wine, this classic, easy-to-pair appetizer will never go out of style. Here are some of our favorite spots in the country winning at the cheese plate game.
At farm-to-fork eatery 51 Lincoln in Boston, semi-soft cheeses from Spain, Ireland and France are available to enjoy alongside various charcuterie, including ham terrine, chicken liver pâté and bresaola (air-dried, salted beef).
Paired with nice glasses of red wine, the cheese board at Steak and Whisky in LA -- piled high with Big Rock Blue, Humboldt Fog goat milk, Mixed Drum and Farmstead Reserve cheeses -- makes an awesome starter for the table.
Cow, goat, sheep and buffalo milk cheeses -- available by the ounce and by the platter -- are great matches for the cocktails, beers and wines on RN74's happy hour menu in San Francisco.
With two dozen cheeses available, Bin 36 in Chicago offers some of the most unexpected varieties in town. Choose a few to create a flight, all served with house-made jam, crostini, Cabernet gelée and apple, and don't forget the wine (available by the glass, bottle or flight) to wash them down.
In traditional Italian style, Le Virtu in Philadelphia offers a cheese plate after your meal. From the "dolci" section of the menu, guests can choose a selection of artisanal Pecorino cheeses from Abruzzo's Valle Scannese and Porta dei Parchi farms.
The Bar Room at The Gander in NYC offers an all-day menu featuring several cheeses, plus stellar charcuterie, to accompany their specialty drinks, beers and wines.
At Mediterranean-inspired Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles, non-dairy delights take center stage on the Kite Hill Cheese Plate, which highlights assorted vegan cheeses, house-made jams and other goodies.
Led by Maitre D' and Fromager Louis Risoli, the cheese program at L'Espalier in Boston spotlights selections from around the world -- England, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Australia and the U.S. -- served at the peak of their ripeness and offered a la carte or in flights of 10, 26 or even 42 selections!