Interesting things pop up when you type the words “sexy cheese” into Google, as we did in an attempt to create a perfect Valentine’s Day cheese plate this year. To save you the trouble—and potential trauma—of doing that, we’ve compiled a few cheeses that will make your love’s heart swoon (or at least pitter-patter with cheese anticipation).
There are a few cardinal rules for putting together a beautiful cheese plate that says, “I love you so much that I’m willing to forego hoarding all of the cheese in the cheese drawer for myself”: Stick to three or four cheeses with a variety of flavors and textures based on color, type of milk, or hardness of the cheese; and plan on two ounces of cheese per person. As with any cheese platter presentation, including some additions like crusty french bread, spiced nuts, grapes, figs, olives, crackers, chocolate, or cured meats helps balance flavors. Here at culture, we think the perfect relationship is fun, romantic, sometimes fancy, and a little funky. For this year’s Valentine’s Day cheese plate, we’ve chosen one cheese for each of these four categories. We’re deep, guys.
Fun Cheese Plate
Flavor-infused cheeses and those with flavored rinds make quite an impression as part of a Valentine’s Day cheese plate. Choose a cheese with a flavor you both love like a Raspberry BellaVitano or trendy chocolate-infused cheeses. Think about garnishing the plate with raspberries or nuggets of good-quality dark chocolate to emphasize these flavors. And lest you need to coax your honey to your Plate O’ Love, leave a trail of these pink-tinted cheese curds made especially for Valentine’s Day. Who needs rose petals when you can say, “I curd love you forever” with cheese?
Funky Cheese Plate
“I’ll love you ‘til you’re wrinkled and grey,” we whisper on occasion, not to our plus-ones but to a petite orb of ash-ripened Bonne Bouche, a lovely delicate cheese that upholds the funky category of any cheese plate. A favorite to come out of Vermont Creamery, this petit fromage is only three inches in diameter and one inch high, but size doesn’t matter for this wonderful specimen of goat’s milk magic. Reminiscent of a triple-crème or brie, this cheese will make you not only feel like you’re on Cloud 9 but also like you’re spreading Cloud 9 on a cracker. As you feed your honey-bunch a bit of this dairy deliciousness, impress them with your newly-acquired French skills: “Bonne Bouche” (pronounced “Bun Boosh”) means “good mouthful.” We think you’ll agree.
Romantic Cheese Plate
A few cheeses caught our eyes as grand contenders for the romantic cheese spot on our plate (like Brin D’Amour, an herb-covered cheese whose name means “breath of love” or Coeur de Neufchatel, a French cheese that woos snacking lovebirds with its heart shape). In the end, though, our romantic cheese winner is River’s Edge True Love (and who doesn’t want to serve up a bit of true love on a platter on the most romantic day of the year?). This cheese is a goat’s milk chèvre coated in rose petals and jasmine buds and is as beautiful as it is delicious. True Love definitely gives new meaning to the term “bloomy rind.”
Fancy Cheese Plate
Add a little fancy feistiness to your Valentine’s Day cheese plate with Hook’s 15-year Aged Cheddar. The decadence of cutting nibbles off of a block of cheese potentially older than your relationship is unsurpassable. And this cheese comes with bling, too: slightly crunchy “crystals,” a sign of a bold-flavored and extra-aged cheese, are studded throughout. These naturally-occurring and oft-sought-after crystals are, according to Cheese Underground, a “bite of heaven.”
Feel free to choose other cheeses for your romantic cheese plate that mean something to the two of you (“Remember that time I ate the entire block of aged gouda you were saving for your work party? Surprise!”). It will be great. We brie-lieve in you.