This cheese article explains that cheese has a goal …same as ours. Immortality! ;-)
Actually cheese is milk’s attempt at immortality!
Before you read this article, please start with the first cheese article. It will help.
This article focuses on French and Spanish cheese, as well as some American cheese, and how I encourage participation with tastings (expanding our choices and understanding while having some FUN!)
I hear that a lot.
What is Artisan Cheese?
The term “artisan” means something quite specific. An
artisan cheese maker (or farmstead cheese maker) must raise the milking animals
on the same land where the milk is turned into the product.
Most artisan cheese makers raise their animals humanely and organically.
As a result, supplies are limited due to seasonality and production capacity. Many of these are considered premier products.
Ever Popular Cheddar - The Poor Man's Gift?
Cheddar is named after the town of Cheddar in southwest
In olden times, the amount of fat in the product (resulting in richness) had to do with how poor the farmer was. Richer farmers could make theirs from full-fat milk, while poor farmers removed the fat to make butter for sale, then made cheese from the skimmed milk. Presto - cheddar!
Cheddar goes well with port, white wine, or red wine. It’s a very universal cheese, appropriate for trays and cooking.
Cheese Article: Some French Selections
(Click on the links for detailed information)
France's rich pastureland and varied climates lends itself to creating the greatest variety of products in any one country ---over 400!
Cheese Article: Some Spanish Selections
Spanish cheese makers' combinations of goat, sheep and cow milk into single products makes for a variety of choices.
Cheese Article: What Is A Dessert Selection?
Technically, there is no such thing. Some people use the
terminology to describe the process of eating some after a meal, maybe to
finish with the remaining wine that was not consumed before or during the meal. ;-)
These selections do tend to be rich and creamy.
Blues (bleus) are one of the most popular.
Some Dessert Selections
How Do I Set Up A Tray?
I usually have at least three and as many as five cheeses.
Having at least three to five allows me to offer an interesting variety without
being too extravagant.
I allow about 3 ounces per guest if we are just tasting or it's an appetizer plate before a meal. If I want these as a main course I have 6-7 ounces per person.
The other thing I like to do is select ones that combine styles, textures and colors. I like to offer different looks, tastes, and feels such as one soft-ripened, one hard and probably a blue. And if I am serving more than three, I like to add one or two with different flavor and color.
Occasionally I'll have a theme tray, such as all blues or all local ones.
When I have guests coming I realize some are great cheese lovers and some are "beginners." I try to offer a variety of flavors, with enough mild ones available so everyone can be accommodated. If my tray offered all "stinky" selections, some of my guests would have to stop at a fast food place on the way home.
I usually have a couple kinds of artisan breads or baguettes and interesting crackers, as well as apples, pears, nuts and dried fruit as part of the tray.
I arrange my tray at least an hour or two before my guests arrive. Cheese needs to sit at room temperature for full flavors to be enjoyed. I provide one knife for each selection so flavors don't mingle.
Cheese and Wine
Don't "worry" about rules: "try ...try ...try." It is primarily a matter of personal tastes.
However, here are some general guidelines to get you started:
Keep it simple. Remember, the goal of tasting with wine is to find a balance between the two and not "allow" one to overpower the other.
Serve full-flavored selections, such as creamy washed rinds with medium to full-bodied wines, such as Merlot, Zinfandel, or Syrah.
Pair lighter ones with light wines such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir.
Blues go well with dessert wines such as late harvest Viogniers and Rieslings and Muscat wines.
Creamy ones pair well with sparkling wines and Champagne.
(Old cheese press built into a wall.)
Say "cheese" and be happy for milk. It is milk's attempt at immortality! :-)
“Sometimes all you need is an old friend, a good chat and a slightly expensive block of cheese.”