How Much Cheese Do I Need? A Portioning Guide for Cheesemongers

Posted by Emilia D'Albero on

The most commonly asked question at cheese counters is probably "how much cheese do I need?" second only to the classic "Is this a Brie?". It's a valid question - and one with no single correct answer. The context for this question is important to consider, because your answer can and should change based on the information the customer provides you with. We've put together a handy portioning guide for cheesemongers to consult when faced with these questions behind the counter. 

Let's start with the more clear-cut situations:

- 1/4lb of cheese is roughly 1 cup grated

- For fondue, recommend 1/3-1/2lb per adult if it is a main course, and 1/4lb per adult as a starter.

- For raclette, recommend 3-5 thin slices per adult if it is a main course, and 1-3 slices per adult as a starter. 

But it's currently graduation party season, and before we know it, it will be holiday party season - many mongers are most likely fielding catering requests and building endless platters. Customers who are buying cheese to build their own boards will also often ask their mongers for this kind of advice, so here are some of Formaticum's tried and true tips for portioning product for cheese and charcuterie platters (and remember, it's only a charcuterie board if it contains meat!). 

- The general guideline is 1oz per cheese/meat per person. You can adjust this according to the context - decrease if the platter is one of many options, or increase if it is the star of the show. 

- The cheese should be the star of the show - make sure that the accoutrements do not crowd or outshine the cheeses. Use Formaticum Board Liners to elevate your platter's presentation and prevent unsightly grease or butterfat stains. 

- If a blue cheese is included, we recommend using a smaller piece in favor of a larger piece of a more popular cheese, as blue cheese can be polarizing and is generally not the most popular option on the plate. 

- Each cheese should be cut and presented appropriately - delicate soft cheeses can be left whole, while harder cheeses like cheddar and Manchego can be sliced, Alpine-style cheeses like Gruyere can be cut into matchsticks, and grana-style cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano can be served as rustic chunks. Don't be afraid to get creative with the cuts and display! A cheese platter should be just as visually appealing as it is delicious.

- Don't forget to use the appropriate tool or knife for the cleanest cuts. Triple creams and bloomy rinds should be cut with a Soft Cheese Knife, firm cheeses can be cut with a Hard Cheese Knife, and delicate blue cheeses demand the special touch of an offset Blue Cheese Knife

- Make sure the guests enjoying the platter can identify each cheese, and milk type or country of origin if necessary. Our Cheese Signs make it easy to add this touch! 

- After you've spent time creating the perfect platter, it's important to protect your work so it arrives to the customer ready to be served. Our Faux Slate Trays include sturdy lids that will ensure safe transport and delivery. 

And don't forget to document your work! If you build a platter you're particularly proud of, we want to see it - tag us @formaticum on Facebook or Instagram and we will repost our favorites! 

Interested in opening a wholesale account with us to have access to our catering and food service supplies? Email us at wholesale.formaticum.com to get started. 

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