This month Matthijs and I celebrated the tenth anniversary of our first date. So it only seems fitting to finally share my non-recipe for a food intolerance friendly cheese platter that I photographed in December 2018. Even though entertaining is not an actual option at the moment, I do think it's nice to entertain ourselves every so often. So whether you find this recipe when most pandemic restrictions have lifted, or right now, when I published it in the midst of a pandemic, I hope you find inspiration in it. Even if it's just entertaining you and one special someone.
For years I went back and forth on the title of this blog post. Simply because I'm not a huge fan of putting dietary labels on my recipes. Especially the low FODMAP one. Firstly, because almost all my recipes are based on the low FODMAP principles. Secondly, because not two people following the low FODMAP diet have the same restrictions. Thirdly, because the low FODMAP diet should help you get over most of your food intolerances, meaning that over time you will be able to live with less restrictions. So while I created this grazing board / cheese platter / charcuterie board / whatever-you'd-like-to-call-it to adhere to my specific dietary needs in December 2018, it might not accommodate your needs at the time that you find this recipe. That being said, I still think it helpful to put the label on this non-recipe because most snack items are high on onion, garlic, lactose, and sugar substitutes. Something most people are not aware of, resulting in social gatherings where I and my fellow low FODMAPpers have two options: 1. Eat nothing at all. 2. Enjoy the party food for several more days. And in my opinion that's not really a choice. So even though we're almost a year into this pandemic, here I am sharing an alternative that does not make you or your low FODMAP guests suffer, and your other guests will enjoy as well. Happy entertaining! Within current restrictions of course.
Since I trust you are able to place food on a plate, I will use this space to explain a bit more about the different ingredients and most common problems you'll run into with snack food on a low FODMAP diet.
Problem #1: onion and garlic. Just for the fun of it try to find any pre-packaged, flavoured food in your supermarket without one of these two. It's nearly impossible. So it's best to get non-flavoured items, and flavour them yourself if you want to.
Problem #2: lactose. An interesting one considering this is a non-recipe for a cheese platter. I find that my tolerance for lactose changes about every other week, so the best thing to do is to include plenty of lactose free options. For example cured meat and fish, fruit, and vegetables.
Problem #3: sugar substitutes. Another fun one in a world scared of actual sugar. The interesting thing, however, is that most sugar substitutes are not that good for your body. So take care to read the labels, including those of meat, fish and cheese. Yes, I know, it's crazy that you might find sugar substitutes in these as well.
So, now you know what to look out for, it's time to construct a FODMAP-friendly cheese platter.
1. Cheese. I think it's nice to have a bit of variety, so I like to have a soft cheese, a firm cheese, and something in between. Most importantly, you have to enjoy the flavours. So experiment with different types and brands. And if you're entertaining a larger crowd, you can of course serve more than three cheeses.
Most cheeses are safe on a low FODMAP diet up to 40g a serve. Unfortunately, this actually means that on a low FODMAP diet you can eat a total of 40g since the effect is cumulative.
2. Cured meat and fish. Here your safest bet is unflavoured options since garlic, onion and sugar substitutes go hand in hand with these items. But apart from that, the sky is the limit.
3. Fruit and vegetables. I like to pair these with the other items I chose. For example: red grapes pair well with a firm goat's cheese, olives with fuet, cucumber with brie, and red bell pepper with a soft goat's or herbed cream cheese. Again, just experiment to discover what you like. If you like to add canned items like artichoke hearts, olives or grilled peppers, please read the ingredient list carefully. Because chances are high you'll find garlic on it.
4. And then the most important part of a cheese platter: crunchy items. At the very least, your cheese platter should contain crackers. I was in a weird "I have to make everything from scratch"-mood in 2018, so I made my own. But unless you're very good at baking crackers, I advise you to not bother and just buy some. I know I do. Fresh vegetables are a good crunchy option too. But their flavour should suit the other flavours on your board. That's why they're not in the photos.
I hope this gives you some inspiration for creating a cheese platter. Under "Ingredients" I gave a list of the items I used to make mine. However, go experiment. A lot. And create a platter that suits you best. And of course, feel free to ask me anything in the comments.