Tips for Making the Ultimate Cheese Plate

When it comes to a successful dinner party, a cheese plate is always a must. Whether you are hosting a breezy summer bash or an elegant holiday affair, a pretty plate of cheeses, nuts and fruits is always expected. But visiting the cheese aisle at your local grocery store can be overwhelming (brie or blue, gruyere or goat?) And once you’ve decided on the cheese, what is appropriate to pair with it? Well, Gina Buskirk, of Gina’s Homemade specialty food store in Scottsdale (, is making it easy on us as she dishes on no-fail flavor pairings that will easily jazz up a ho-hum cheese plate.
 • Pair a blue cheese wedge with dried cranberries, and add a swirl of organic honey with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
• Use a soft Italian cheese like burrata. Drizzle it with olive oil, top with sea salt and pair with freshly pan-roasted tomatoes that have cooled to room temperature.
• Grill breads with olive oil to impart a smoky flavor. Serve with an Italian soft cheese like Gina’s Bene con Tutto.
• Stuff dried dates go deliciously with mascarpone cheese.
• Serve seasonal fruit with a sweeter soft cheese like Gina’s Homemade Ricotta.

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