From CNN's eatocracy.com:
Don’t know goat cheese from gouda? Or Comté from Camembert? Well, you certainly don’t have to have a culinary degree to put together a simple yet tasteful cheese plate. After all, the extent of the kitchen aptitude required is how well you can unwrap and place things on a platter.
But if you're still worried about making an asiago of yourself at your next gathering, Cathy Strange, the global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market, has some tips to get you on your way to cheese pairing success.
1. Variety is key
"Plan on offering your guests a variety of flavor profiles and textures. When making your selections, consider including a blue cheese, a rind cheese, a fresh cheese, a hard cheese and a unique, local cheese. Offer palate cleansers such as simple crackers or nuts for guests to munch on in between so they can fully experience each cheese.
"A cheese plate is more than just cheese. In addition to dried or fresh, seasonal fruit, consider adding olives and nuts to the plate. If you’re feeling adventurous, try something like this sweet pickled watermelon rind from Divina Pickles. Also consider gourmet jams or spreads that may highlight the individual flavors in each cheese."
"Most people have attended a wine and cheese pairing party, but also consider pairing your cheeses with beers. Oftentimes beer pairs with cheese better than wine because the tannins in wine can sometimes contrast with cheese, whereas the effervescence of beer often enhances the cheese’s flavor.
"Serving cheese fresh out of the fridge is a no-no when it comes to getting the most flavor. Cheese tastes best at room temperature, so be sure to take it out of the fridge 30 to 45 minutes before tasting."
"Take time to chat up your local cheesemonger. They can tell you great pairings for specific cheeses you’re interested in trying and steer you to exciting finds you might not think to grab otherwise.
We have a great selection of international cheeses at Doris Italian Market & Bakery. Visit us and try something different. You just may rediscover cheeses all over again....