Thursday, June 16, 2011

Impromptu and Impressive cheese plate

I am going to assume that most of us like cheese....I mean, its delicious and the French have been living off it for years. So why are we all so hesitant to try new cheeses? Furthermore, if you're trying them in grilled cheese sandwiches only, you may not be getting the full flavor or picture of a true fromage experience (see below) 

I admit that depending on your household (read: children) this may not be a regular occurrence. For us, it is not regular...but it does happen often enough when we get the craving for an overdose of dairy. We change the cheeses and the pairings, but this recent one was a grouping of favorites.

For cheeses, we started with a 6-month aged Comte (Tim's absolute favorite, pictured on the left) which is similar to a Gruyere, though with a more nutty flavor (insert joke here). Though this one is pricey (we got it at a higher end grocery store out by us), it is a strong cheese - meaning you can get by with a smaller piece and not forfeit the mortgage to enjoy it. Also, the rind on the Comte is great grated in a salad or in eggs so nothing goes to waste!

Then we went with the St. Andre Brie (middle) which is a triple cream and truly lacks the waxy after taste that often follows a Brie. It is reasonably priced and the best deal for it that I've seen is at Trader Joe's, hands down.

Last, on the right, is an Iraty, which we had never tried before. It is a harder cheese, like the Comte and it was rather spicy when compared to the others so it made for a nice contrast.

Often people want to buy crackers, breads, etc. that are full of their own flavor - from cracked pepper to rosemary-thyme to sesame vegetable, whatever. I am guilty of this as well but when it comes down to serving a good cheese, I'll opt for a plainer starch like a water cracker or a wheat or white baguette, which is what we chose here. You can certainly toast the bread but if it is fresh and purchased that day, there's really no need. To liven up the bread a little, I poured a dipping plate of kalamata pressed olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of coarse salt and some thyme.

(Not pictured, we also added dried cranberries into the mix)

All in all, you might still be hungry afterwards, you might not. If you are, you can also add some cured meats like a prosciutto, or even walk on the wild side and toss in some tender jerky.

PS - the bottle in the background is good balsamic and no, we weren't drinking it ;) For that we went with a Chianti.

- Melissa

1 comment:

  1. On a summer night, sitting on our deck, this is the perfect alternative to getting up off my ass to cook dinner. Make my glass of wine a merlot or a nice shiraz!


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