Taste: How To: Design A Cheese Tray

Greg Gallina, of Center City’s Tria, has a degree in cheese—and five hints to help you pretend that you do, too

1. Know your crowd. “You can buy more adventurous cheese for more adventurous people,” Gallina says. Choose three to five cheeses, and plan on a quarter-pound of cheese per person.

2. Find the right source. “A good cheesemonger will let you try everything,” Gallina says. He recommends Di Bruno Bros. (with locations in Center City and the Italian Market) and Downtown Cheese (at the Reading Terminal Market and the Ardmore Farmers Market).

3. Diversify. Choose cheeses made from different types of milk and from different countries. The best cheese trays have a variety of textures and tastes.

4. Take care of your cheese. With the exception of extremely young goat cheese, you can buy your cheeses a couple of days in advance. Wrap them in paper and store them in your fridge’s vegetable drawer. Blue cheeses should be wrapped in foil.

5. Experiment. When arranging the tray (cheeses are typically tasted from the softest in texture and flavor to the hardest), add dried or seasonal fruits, honeys and nuts as complements. Gallina often pairs a cheese with accompaniments from its country of origin.