Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's in a Platter?

My third book is on its way to publication. The title: CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT. In the book, I feature a number of cheese platters. Charlotte teaches a course on how to prepare platters. There are no "rules" - just so you know.  But there are things that lots of people teaching platter design are into right now. On a platter have one of each type of cheese: a goat cheese, cow's cheese, and sheep's milk cheese. Add nuts, sweets like honey, fruits or veggies.

There's NO right or wrong. What you want to put on your platter is what you want to serve. The fun in platters is making them works of art, if you will.

I subscribe to a magazine called CULTURE, which is all about cheese. It's a delicious magazine. (No, I don't eat it.) But I do consume the recipes, the articles, and the research. And as part of my research, I've subscribed to the Culture "centerfold" series. Okay, yes, sounds like sex but it's not. They put a centerfold in the middle of the magazine that highlights a special cheese.  For a fee, they will send me that cheese and the accoutrements.


I just received a centerfold cheese this week, and I had to share it with you.  It's in the above left corner. It's a goat cheese called: Capriole: Julianna. Don't you love the name? So feminine, named after its creator. [It's a raw milk, hard cheese that is nutty like a Tomme de Savoie, yet buttery and smooth and coated with herbs.]

The picture the Culture Magazine provided with the delivery was exceptional. I'm not a photographer, but I loved the minimalism of the presentation. There is the cheese (cut in half), long limbed crackers, and fruit chewies that are melt in your mouth delicious. Lemon, raspberry, blackberry, sort of like those candies you can find at Christmas time...or remember orange wedge slices, all sugar-coated? I haven't tried to make them, but I'm going to, and I promise to share the recipe once I do. I have a bunch of apricots waiting to be cooked!

And so, for my platter, I tried to copy the centerfold photograph.  Just so you know, the centerfold picture had no knife on the plate, but there were lots of magazine words over that blank place. I think the knife works on my presentation, don't you?

As for other platters, over the past two years, I've tested out a number of platter options. Some that are all cheese (with a variety of colors, shapes, tastes). Other platters that include the fruits and veggies. Please enjoy the photos and may they inspire you.  (One of my favorites--though  I'll be danged if I can't find the photograph--was an antipasto platter that included cheeses, salamis, peppers, turnips, olives and more. So much fun. Delish.)

Do what you will. Make a work of art. Yes, size matters...when it comes to how many people you're having to your party.





Wow, we've had so many wonderful new books released this month!  Congratulations to Julie, Wendy, and Riley!

Read on to order books or enter contests and to see more congratulations are due! 

Congratulations to Riley Adams (aka Elizabeth Spann Craig) on the release of Finger Lickin' Dead, the 2nd book in her Memphis BBQ Mystery series (and does it have great recipes!)Click here to read a review of Finger Lickin' Dead from Mason Canyon's Thoughts in Progress. Click here to read Diane's review at the Book Resort.

Click here to purchase the book.

Congratulations to Riley's contest winner: Darlene Peterson!

Congratulations to Julie Hyzy on the release of Grace Interrupted, the second in her Manor House Mystery series.

Click here to read a review from
the Chicago Sun-Times

Click here to order the book.

Congratulations to Wendy Lyn Watson on the release of A Parfait Murder, the third in her Mystery A La Mode series.

Click here to read a review from A Criminal Element.

Click here to purchase the book.

Click here to visit Wendy's Web site and
read on to learn how to enter her contest!

Wendy Lyn Watson's
new mystery
A Parfait Murder features a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant. To celebrate, Wendy's giving away a little cowboy couture: a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a "rodeo queen" keychain.

Eligibility: This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada. One entry per person, please.

How to Enter: Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book), by e-mail to Put the words "Parfait Giveaway" in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17. Wendy will randomly select one entry and announce the winner here on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog on Saturday, June 18. She will contact the winner via e-mail. If she does not receive a response within 7 days, she will draw a new winning name.


  1. My new favorite place to meet with friends is a wine bar (within walking distance! yay!) that serves lovely cheese platters. You can create your own from a rather extensive list, or you can order the chef's platter of the day. It comes with three cheeses, baguette, a handful of fruit (berries, thinly sliced apples), a few walnuts, and a tiny scoop of their house-made pesto.

    I've encountered a few interesting cheeses there ... I should start taking notes. :)

  2. A new cheese to try! Thanks, Avery. :) And I really love your pictures--helps remind me that presentation is an important part of enjoying a meal!

  3. The platters look delicious. The way in which the food is presented does make a difference. Now I have a taste for cheese before breakfast. :)

    Thoughts in Progress
    Freelance Editing By Mason

  4. I love the way the cheese platter is presented and I'll definitely have to check out the cheese.

  5. Your title is to die for! Love it & your platters look delicious. I think the reason I like having people over is really because of food presentation. My brother is in culinary school right now & this week they have been working on ice sculptures and overall presentation.

  6. Wendy, can I come to the wine bar? I love a wine bar and chatting with friends. That love transferred into "girls' night out" in my books. LOL.

    Riley/Elizbeth, yes, presentation is "almost" everything. :)

    Mason, cheese for breakfast? Charlotte (and I) like a soft creamy cheese on toast (gluten-free for me, Charlotte can have regular), and a spread of jam. Yum.

    Dru, glad you like the presentation. As I said, I didn't come up with it, but that's why pictures are important, don't you think? I'm a really really really good mimic. (Ha!)

    ~ Avery

  7. Lara, so glad you like the title. Where is your brother going to culinary school? Too funny regarding the ice sculptures. A few of those are featured in Clobbered by Camembert. Kid you not.

    Enjoy the day.


  8. Your posts often make me want to have a party! I love these presentations and I know they will be absolutely delicious.

  9. Beautiful photos, Avery! Cheese and chocolate, now there's an interesting idea! Such fun to try out new cheeses!

    ~ Krista

  10. Oh my gosh, these are so great, Avery! Love the pictures and how much I'm learning from you. Your pictures are fabulous! Your research even better. Thank you for opening my mind (and palate) to so many new cheeses. And I can't wait for CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT!

  11. Yeah! The distressing thing about finding an author whose works you like is having no new work to read. Yes, re-reading is comforting but with so many choices . . . . So, thanks.

  12. Mary Jane, party hearty! LOL

    Krista, I have to say the cheese and chocolate platter was a real hit! And it worked for chocolate fondue (dipping cheddar cheese) into it. Nice combination of flavors. Decadent, too.


  13. Julie, thanks. Glad you're enjoying the research. So am I.

    BTW, congrats on making the ABA mass market extended list! Wahooooooo! Just got my Grace in the mail. It's next on my TBR.


  14. Liz, that's so sweet. Glad you're liking the reads. What's fun about this blog is that there are so many authors who write "foodie" mysteries and they all have backlists that you should have plenty to read between the next publication. Julie, Riley, and Wendy just came out with new ones (all well reviewed). Sheila's coming up. Then Krista and Cleo...The list goes on and on.

    Good reading to all.


  15. Cheese centerfolds, OMG, that is too perfect. Now that's what I call food porn. :) Thank you for sharing your cheese platter tips, Avery. I never would have thought of cheese and chocolate for a tasting -- fantastic ideas here. Very glad to hear Charlotte (your amateur sleuth) is already on a third case. Love the title, too.

    BTW - BIG CONGRATS for hitting the #1 position on the May bestseller list of the Independent Mystery Bookseller's Association. Everyone, you can click here to see - Avery's new release LOST AND FONDUE is on their main page! Woot!!!!

    Read with joy,
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  16. This is a great page! I really enjoyed it. I found eight books I have to get now! I clicked on the link about cheese platters. I had a platter out last Holiday season with an amazing Bleu from Say Cheese in Los Feliz. I also had Brie, Dubliner, tasty wine crackers and concord grapes. It turned out beautiful. I like the idea of including nuts and/or chocolate. That sounds fabulous! Thanks for the tips.