For anyone who’s ever attempted to plate a cheese platter, choosing cheeses from the varied selection of fromage on the market can be a daunting task, especially when you’re serving a party of guests, each with their own unique preferences. We spoke to Carmen Wong of KEJU by Carmen – a Kuala Lumpur based business that specialises in catering grazing platters for events and social gatherings – who is an expert on picking the right ingredients to suit every palate on how to craft the perfect grazing platter.
Are there specific varieties of cheeses that should be served together?
There are no specific types of cheese that should go together. It’s always about the client’s preference. Though many times our clients leave it up to us to choose for them. We will then usually choose a range of profiles from mild to strong and soft to hard.
What sort of serving trays or boards would you suggest to serve on?
Anything can be a canvas for cheese. KEJU is known for using all sorts of surfaces and packaging to showcase our cheese, from boards, to tables and island, tiffin carriers and crates. We love the challenge, give us any surface to work with and we’ll create magic for you.
What type of hard cheeses would you highly recommend?
Mimolette ! If you have not tried it, you should, it’s amazing!
What about soft cheeses?
To serve, I would always recommend brie. Everyone who eats cheese would enjoy brie.
What sort of dried fruits, nuts and fresh fruits go best on cheese platters?
It really depends on the chosen cheese. We would usually get our client’s cheese preference and then pair the accompaniments accordingly. However, I would always have grapes in the platter as it acts as a palette cleanser between cheese.
When is the best time to serve the cheese platter during a meal?
Before or the meal, after the meal, or even as the main meal. Cheese is perfect anytime.
Would you recommend buying the cheeses on the day of serving or can they be stored in the fridge?
It really depends on their shelf life. For cheeses that can last longer, we would have started prepping them a couple of days before. To me, it is always better to prep ahead.
What advice would you give to someone who’s hoping to impress their guests with their plating skills?
Trust your creativity and have fun while you’re at it. I’ll always prep myself to be in a really good and perky mood before I start grazing. The board is my canvas; grazing is an art to me and I guess like many artists, you’ll just have to feel your way through the whole process. There really isn’t a hard and fast rule to grazing.
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“What should I serve?” Biggest question when you have friends over. And we have the answer! . Wide range of food all served in one gorgeous platter! Artisan cheese, charcuterie, fresh premium fruits and vegetables and delicious accompaniments; sweet to savoury combinations. . Even a picky eater would be spoiled for choice.
What do you think makes a great cheese platter?
It includes a mix of high quality cheese that suits your taste profile. At the end of the day, you just have to enjoy the platter and the flavours that are served. I mean, if you give me a platter of certain cheese and accompaniments that I don’t fancy, it would not be such a great cheese platter to me. At KEJU, we note down all our client’s taste profile; what they order, what they order again, their likes and dislikes, their allergies and more. It’s important to understand that everyone’s taste is different. From there, you can make a great platter for everyone.