Imbolc is often associated with dairy products of all kinds. A cheese platter is a great social way to honor this aspect of the February holiday. Cheeses come in such a vast variety of options that you can create an afternoon party focused on only cheese, bread, wine and conversation, the perfect complement to this quiet Sabbat.
Cheese platters should represent a wide mix of tastes and textures. Choose 3-5 cheeses, depending on how many people you expect. A good rule of thumb is one of the following combinations:
- 1 sheep’s milk cheese
- 1 goat’s milk cheese
- 1 cow’s milk cheese
- 1 hard cheese (i.e. smoked mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano)
- 1 blue cheese (i.e. gorgonzola, stilton)
- 1 soft cheese (i.e. brie, camembert)
- 1 aged cheese (i.e. aged cheddar)
Pair the cheeses with a variety of crackers, sliced baguettes, breadsticks and other breads as well as fruits such as red and green grapes, sliced apples and orange segments. Nuts, meats and condiments like apricot preserves or orange marmalade also give a cheese platter interest and dimension.
I like to lay out my cheeses and pairings on a large wooden cutting board with typed labels so guests know exactly what they’re eating. Cheese “platters” can also be done on ceramic plates, raised cake plates or glass serving dishes, however.
How do you like to incorporate dairy products into your Imbolc celebration?