New Year’s Eve Cheese Plates for Two
New Year’s Eve Cheese Plates for Two: Ring in the new year with Grand Cru®- and Grand Cru® Reserve-inspired cheese plates, and sip pear martinis in the comfort of your own home.
By: Bree Hester
Years of working in the restaurant industry, having small kids, coupled with a husband that usually has New Year’s Eve duty has cured me of wanting to ever go out for New Year’s Eve again.
I’ve been there, done that, and much prefer to celebrate the new year with my people, on my couch in front of my fireplace with a movie or a game than fight crowds. And honestly, I don’t want to get dressed up. I’ll wear my fancy joggers for my couch date, but that’s about it these days.
It’s not to say that I don’t make it a special occasion, I do. When the kids were younger (before they had their own NYE plans) we would have raclette as a family. If you have never had it, it’s similar to fondue, but with a little tabletop grill/broiler. It’s so much fun. It takes a long time and we would talk for hours and I loved it.
Now, the kids are either out or are doing their own thing. So my husband Wes and I have a grown-up, yet low-key, New Year’s together.
More often than not, I skip making a full dinner and instead opt for an appetizer/heavy snack/dessert situation. It’s really our favorite way to eat. I buy fancy desserts from a bakery, make a really beautiful cheese plate, and maybe a new appetizer recipe I’ve been wanting to try.
And of course, we sip a festive cocktail while indulging! It’s honestly a romantic and lovely way to spend an evening.
Instead of making a really big cheese board, I was inspired by the cheese plates you can order at restaurants. They are made for one or two people and are often so beautifully plated they look like art.
You know I love my Roth cheese and Grand Cru® is my husband’s favorite, so it’s no surprise that they are heavily featured on these plates. Like all of my cheese boards, I use three to five cheeses that are different in texture and flavor but arrange them differently to utilize the more petite plates
I used both Original Grand Cru® and aged Grand Cru® Reserve. Grand Cru® is an alpine-style cheese that is nutty and creamy. Grand Cru® Reserve is hand-selected wheels of Grand Cru® that are aged for more than six months. It results in a bolder and more savory-flavored cheese. It’s delicious. Buttermilk Blue® is creamy, which is a nice contrast to the Grand Cru® and is tangy, but mellow. To round it out, I added Smoked Gouda. I love the creaminess paired with the smoky notes in this cheese.
Both kinds of cheese pair so well with apples and pears, so that was my inspiration for the pear martini. I didn’t want to make a really heavy cocktail that would overpower the cheese, but I did want it to compliment the flavors. I am really happy with how they tasted together.
If you want to pair your Grand Cru® but do not want a pear martini, try an amber beer or hard cider. They will work beautifully together.
How to Make a New Year’s Eve Cheese Plate for Two //
You can make one larger cheese plate, but I liked the idea of individual cheese plates. It made it feel special, but feel free to make one if you like.
1. Grab two pretty plates. It’s a fancy celebration, so grab the china or special occasion dishes.
2. Arrange cheese. I really wanted this to be a beautiful presentation so I wanted this to look like a plated dish from a restaurant.
3. Fill in gaps with fruit, jam, and nuts. Apples and Grand Cru® are a natural pairing or Smoked Gouda and nuts.
4. Slice a baguette and add crackers.
5. Serve with a pear martini.
How to Make a Pear Martini //
I feel so elegant when I am drinking a cocktail. It feels special and festive and indulgent, but it really is simple to make. You can purchase pear vodka from your favorite liquor store (or if you are in New England, your local packie) or make your own.
1 ½ ounces pear flavored vodka
¼ cup pear juice*
Squeeze lime juice
Garnish with pear slices
*Can substitute apple if desired
Add pear-flavored vodka, pear juice, and lime juice to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a glass. Pour into a martini glass or serve in a cocktail glass over ice. Garnish with pear slices.
To make your own pear-flavored vodka, add a 750mL bottle of vodka to a large container with a tight-fitting lid. Add 5 sliced pears. Store in a dark place for 4 to 5 days. Remove the pears and enjoy.
Variations on a Pear Martini //
Use spiced pear vodka. To make a spiced pear vodka, add a few cinnamon sticks, crushed cardamom pods, and a slice of ginger. It will alter the color of your vodka, turning it brown, but it will still be delicious.
In place of pear, feel free to use apple. Use plain vodka, make an apple vodka, or any vodka flavor you like, and replace pear juice with apple cider.
New Year’s Eve Traditions and Ideas //
If you are spending the evening at home, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be fun and festive. You can plan some activities or start a new tradition. You don’t even need to stay until midnight unless you want to.
Set an intention for the year. Take a few minutes and write down what you want the year to look like, feel like, and how to want to go through the new year.
Light a sparkler at midnight. Is there anything more festive than a sparkler? They don’t smell great, and you need to do this outside, but I really love lighting them on New Year’s.
Play a board game or cards. My husband and I play Rummy 500 almost every night. We are very competitive and love connecting and talking about our day over a deck of cards. Yahtzee, Scrabble, Battleship, or Chess.
Buy a deck of conversation starters. Table Topics is a great one with so many different topics to choose from. I’ve learned so much this year about my husband of almost 20 years doing this. And I thought I knew everything about him already!
Make something. Paint, draw, do a craft. It sounds cheesy, but buy a kit for both of you. Tap into your creativity and use your hands.
Start a bucket list. Each person lists a few things they want to do in their lifetime.
Look through your photo album and reminisce over the past year. Even better, print them out or make a photo album. There are lots of great apps and services that make it easy to do right from your phone.
In Spain, everyone eats 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. It is said to protect you from evil spirits and happiness and prosperity in the new year. Make sure to put some grapes on your cheese plate.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope that you have a safe and happy New Year.