Friday, November 21, 2014

Cooking And Entertaining: Cheese Plate

This cheese plate had Camembert, apricots, pistachios, Manchego, membrillo
 and crackers.  I did break the unflavored bread rule 
and added homemade
 Cheez It's (click here for the recipe)

About a month ago, a friend and I took a class titled “Building the Perfect Cheese Plate” taught by Adam Centamore.  Adam managed a cheese shop in Cambridge and now manages a wine shop-he’s a foodie and has vast knowledge on wine, cheese, charcuterie, condiments and how to pair them all together.

Taking the class was a great experience, and we learned a lot.  Here are a few of the highlights:
  • If you are serving cheese in courses, start from the mildest in flavor (for example, a goat cheese) and subsequently serve stronger cheeses (blue cheeses are considered the strongest)
  • If serving cheese as the dessert course, serve 1-3 cheeses.  For a wine and cheese party, serve 3-6 cheeses
  • For each cheese, purchase about 1 ounce per person 
  • Use thinner knives with runnier cheeses.  For example, use a thin bladed knife with Brie or Camembert, but use a short thick knife with a hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Remove cheese from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving
  • Serve cheese with unflavored breads like baguettes, water crackers or Italian taralli crackers
  • Eat cheese within one week of purchasing
  • Remove the dark rind from cheese
  • When pairing condiments with cheese, remember “what grows together goes together”
  • Serve lighter foods and wines with milder cheeses and heavier foods and wines with stronger cheeses. 
  • For those of us of who don’t want to think about how to pair cheese, condiments and wine, here is what Adam served to our class:
         1.  Goat cheese with dried apricots and Sauvignon Blanc
         2.  Robiola tre latte (goat, cow and sheep milk cheese) with rose hip preserves
              and white Rioja
         3.  Camembert with apple cider jelly and white Rioja
         4.  Comté with strawberry jam and Nero d’Avola
         5.  Manchego with Membrillo (quince paste) and Nero d’Avola
         6.  Parmigiano-Reggiano with Balsamic vinegar and Douro
         7.  Fourme d’Ambert with dark chocolate and Douro (Yes-dark chocolate! It was
              fabulous!)
  • Remember-there are no hard rules for pairing wine, cheese and condiments.  Pair what you like!

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