Friday, August 5, 2011

Making a Good Cheese Plate

I really enjoy CNN's eatocracy.com.  They really have some great articles full of valuable information and tips.  We've already posted about cheese pairings and the such, but I thought if you didn't see this, you should check it out.

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.

A Beginners' Guide to Assembling a Cheese Plate: Cathy Strange

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.
Some of my favorite cheeses right now include Wellspring Creamery Goat Brie, a sweet little 4.4-oz. mini wheel, and Cowgirl Creamery’s Buckaroo, a versatile washed-rind cow’s milk cheese."
2. Pairings enhance the experience
"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."
3. Consider beverage pairings as well
"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.

Try a classic pairing such as Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog with Le Merle from North Coast Brewery or Le Gruyère Reserve with St. Arnold Amber Ale."
4.Take temperature into account
"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."

5. Ask the experts and take notes
"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.
Cheesemongers are all education and passionate about cheese, and love to share their knowledge. Ask for samples and be sure to take notes on cheeses that really excite you so you can remember for the future."

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....

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