How to Make an Oprah-worthy Artisanal Cheese Platter
January 27, 2011 - Linda Grasso
Artisanal Cheese Platter with dried & fresh figs and dried hibiscus flowers
Remember a couple of weeks ago I told the Oprah story - about how I was a Top 20 Finalist for Your OWN Show - the search to discover the next Oprah for her new network? You might remember I took a gorgeous cheese platter to the first day of the audition (pictured above) as one of the shows I was pitching was a TV version of SheSez. Nothin' like struttin' your stuff - right?
The platter is as striking as it is delicious - and best of all super easy to make. That day - the day of the audition - I actually made a "how-to" video tape you can watch below. Can you tell how pumped I was? Whenever I'm nervous I do something kinda funny on camera - I repeat one word over and over. On that day - it was "gorgeous." Hilarious!
large shallow tray - about two inches deep (Crate & Barrel)
French Paper Leaves (Beverly Hills Cheese Store)
1 Artisanal Olive Loaf (La BreaBakery - available by special order)
Fresh Calamarnia Figs (farmer's market - in season only)
Black Mission Figs (Trader Joe's)
3 different types of hard cheese - cow/sheep/goat
With regards to the cheese, yes, you can go to a gourmet food shop or cheese store where they offer exquisite products. It is fun to taste items and make discoveries. But the price tags can be wildly high. One of the 2 x 2 chunks I bought for this platter was $50! So, often I'll pick up one or two there - but have the third be of a more inexpensive type. For example, you can get a terrific aged Dubliner cheese from Costco which feels very gourmet. Or you can get an great aged cheddar just about anywhere.
And, you don't have to have all the ingredients. Just a few will do. I made this in July but you can't get fresh figs of any kind right now. But this platter works just fine with dried figs. I got mine from Trader Joe's.
By the way, the cheese platter was a huge hit with the Your OWN Show crew. In particular, they were captivated by the dried hibiscuses - they're smashing to look at and a taste sensation.
A big thank you to Barrie Lynn aka The Cheese Impresario - who taught me how to make this platter. I have learned so much from this delightful gal - on cheese and wine and everything in between. Check out her website - and think of her when you need a cool twist for a party. Barrie does events!
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