The Holidays can be stressful enough without the thought of studying to be cheese monger for every party. Let the Mill City Farmers Market help you build the perfect cheese platter full of delicious local farmstead cheeses!
Pick a theme.
Light appetizer cheeses (Singing Hills chevre) or full-flavored and rich dessert cheeses like an aged gouda or cheddar from Cosmic Wheel or Prairie Hollow? Or play with texture and select several different sheep’s milk cheeses from Shepherd’s Way. You could also choose several different types of cheeses in the same style from different farms to compare! Our favorite theme: a variety of cheeses made from a combination of cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and sheep’s milk to get the true Minnesota farmstead cheese experience!
Buy the right amount.
If you’re serving the cheese as a hors d’oeuvre, plan on 1 to 2 ounces of each cheese per person. If you’re serving it as an after-dinner cheese course, figure 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of each cheese per person. Choose between 3 and 6 cheeses to give your guests enough selection and conversation!
Don’t crowd the platter.
Give each cheese enough room, so guests don’t have to worry about poking a pinky in the havarti! Consider separating pungent smelling cheeses from light delicate ones so the scents don’t combine.
Add some extras!
While many people don’t eat bread with cheese, it is nice to give hungry guests some extras on the plate for pairing and visual contrast. Add something sweet like French Nugget chocolate to a platter with Prairie Hollow sharp Cheddar cheese or tart artisan pickles from Martha’s Joy or Kiss My Cabbage for something savory. For brightness and a pop of color add fresh herbs, microgreens, apples, jam or sliced radishes. A bread basket from one of MCFM’s bakeries or homemade crackers from Very Prairie are also a classic touch.
Serve cheese at room temperature.
Take your cheeses out of the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to serve them. Cheeses that are enjoyed at room temperature have the best fragrance and taste. Note: as a general food safety rule, don’t let refrigerated products sit at room temperature for more than four hours.
Talk to the farmers!
The biggest and best advantage of buying local cheese at the Mill City Farmers Market is the ability to talk directly to the people who spend hours crafting your cheese from the animals they work with every day. Talk to the farmers at the market to learn some colorful descriptions and unique traits about their cheeses so you can share with your guests why local farmstead cheeses are so special!
Mill City Farmers Market Cheese Vendors:
- Prairie Hollow Farm (Elgin, Minn.) – fresh and aged cow’s milk cheeses
- Singing Hills Goat Dairy (Nerstrand, Minn.) – goat’s milk feta, chevre, and curds
- Shepherd’s Way Farm (Nerstrand, Minn.) – fresh and aged sheep’s milk cheeses
- Cosmic Wheel Creamery (Clear Lake, Wisc.) – fresh and aged cow’s milk cheeses
Jersey cows at Prairie Hollow Farm in Elgin, Minn.
Click here for more information about the Mill City Farmers Market indoor Winter Markets!