Just Add Cheese

The world of cheese can be a daunting one. We start with the basics.

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator border_width=”2″][vc_column_text]With this week’s menu incorporating so many different kinds of cheeses, we wanted to include our tips for crafting the perfect cheese board, always a wonderful option for the weekends and for when you’re hosting a gathering with family and friends. 

Typically, between 3-5 different types of cheese is a good selection and ensures that there’s something for everyone (not everyone loves the stinky french cheeses). Of course, you can include as many different varieties of cheese as you like but, generally, less is more. The best way to enjoy an array of cheese is to work your way from mildest to strongest. A refined, creamy cheese like brie is an easy entry point, then continue to warm up your palette with a couple of stronger cheeses – washed-rind offerings work nicely here – before, ultimately, diving into strong selections like Roquefort and Limburger. Somewhere in your offerings, it’s a good idea to include a smoked cheese, such as gouda. Contrasting flavours are key. Just as crucial is a blend of different textures. From soft cheeses like burrata and mozzarella to semi-hard ones such as Swiss, manchego and provolone, round out your board with beloved hard varieties, which include pecorino and Asiago. [/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Contrasting flavours are key. Just as crucial is a blend of different textures.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1593190346314{margin-top: 30px !important;margin-right: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;padding-top: 25px !important;padding-right: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;background-color: #212931 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”][vc_column_text]You’ll want to include complimentary accompaniments too, such as caper berries, grapes, nuts and dried fruits. These add additional texture and a pop of color. Fresh herbs always look great as well but, make no mistake, cheese should be the focus of your board. Made with cow’s milk, cheddar cheeses are a safe bet for most guests. Remember to always serve your cheese at room temperature (same goes for red wine, by the way) to ensure the best flavors, textures and aromas. [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”8736″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow”][vc_custom_heading text=”Remember to always serve your cheese at room temperature (same goes for red wine, by the way) to ensure the best flavors, textures and aromas.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1593190410294{margin-top: 30px !important;margin-right: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;padding-top: 25px !important;padding-right: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;background-color: #212931 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Make It Look Nice !” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left|color:%23000000″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”uppercase”][vc_column_text]You will, of course, need a vehicle for the cheese. Wood. slate and marble slabs are really trendy right now but it can be fun to go old school and place your selection of cheeses under a glass bell jar. It’s best to arrange the cheeses first and assemble the rest of the ingredients around them. When it comes to displaying your cheese, maintain large wedges and place a knife beside or directly in each one to incentivise your guests to cut the cheese themselves. It’s visually pleasing and practical, since doing so will prevent moisture from escaping. Ina Garten, our featured chef this month, has always stressed how important it is that the cheese face out to guests. Nobody wants to look at the backside rind. Interestingly, something that most people don’t know is that the center of a cheese often has more flavor, while the edges tend to be more mild. For this reason, try to encourage lengthwise slicing of the wedges so that the full flavour profile of each cheese can be enjoyed. [/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Who Needs Cake?” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left|color:%23000000″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”uppercase”][vc_single_image image=”8737″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow”][vc_column_text]Not everyone has a sweet tooth but it’s nice to close out a meal with a final course. Cheese is a wonderful dessert option. In France, it is tradition to consume cheese before dessert, while the British tradition is to have cheese after dessert, accompanied by sweet wines like Port. Typically, three cheeses is the perfect amount for a dessert course. All cheeses have varying degrees of sweetness, so look for ones with notes of caramel, burnt sugar, and nuts. Decadent triple crème and blue cheeses pair particularly well with dessert wine. If alcohol isn’t your thing, cheese and coffee, though an untraditional pairing, can complement each other well. Ricotta finished with honey and Italian Piave, with it’s nutty, slightly sweet flavor, offsets the bitterness of a strong brew nicely. You don’t need to include accompaniments but fresh figs and honey work well on a cheese plate. [/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”If alcohol isn’t your thing, cheese and coffee, though an untraditional pairing, can complement each other well.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1593190488227{margin-top: 30px !important;margin-right: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;padding-top: 25px !important;padding-right: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;background-color: #212931 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”][vc_column_text]In recent years, multi-tiered cheese cakes, made of gourmet wheels, have replaced sweet frosted wedding and birthday cakes. The sky's the limit, really. Just remember that cheese is an indulgence (it’s mostly all fat) and shouldn’t be masqueraded as anything else. In other words, just say no to low fat cheeses. 

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