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how to put together a cheese plate by
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To make your cheese board feel like a proper spread, you'll need between
three to five types of cheese. Anything less, really, is just a hunk or
two of cheese slapped onto a plate, and anything more will likely
confuse your friends with the overabundance of options.
|When you're first venturing
into the world of fine cheeses, keep things simple for yourself. Choose
three cheeses that each offer something a little different, to appeal to
as many different folks' tastebuds as possible. You'll want cheeses that
differ in strength, flavor and consistency; try for a variety in height,
color and shape as well, to make for a more visually appealing platter.
For extra brownie points, you might also theme your cheese plate by
sticking with cheeses from a specific region of the world, although this
will probably require access to a cheese purveyor that's a step up from
your local supermarket chain store.
a very basic cheese plate
These cheeses can be picked up at any supermarket, and offer good broad
appeal for people who like their cheeses fairly simple:
wedge of brie
wheel of smoked gouda (firm, medium-flavored and, well, smoky)
chunk of Danish blue (semi-soft, tangy) or log of fresh goat cheese
a french cheese plate
wheel of Camembert
fat wedge of Morbier (semi-soft, nutty, strength varies from medium to
round of Bucheron (goat's cheese, creamy soft and tangy)
But what's that you say? Your
knowledge of cheese thus far starts at those processed American cheese
slices and ends with supermarket brand Monterey Jack? Never fear
here's a guide to some of the most common cheeses you're likely to
encounter as you begin to expand your cheese horizons:
- Soft: When properly
ripe, soft cheeses ooze out of their (edible) rind. The most common
examples are brie (French, buttery and mild, perfect for the
cheese-shy) and camembert (like brie, but slightly stronger,
earthier flavor). For something a little different, try taleggio
(Italian, fruity and strong).
- Semi-soft: These
cheeses have soft rinds with soft interiors, but they hold their
shape when cut. Semi-soft cheeses include Muenster (French and
German, strong), Fontina (Italian, nutty and slightly sweet), and
Havarti (Denmark, smooth and mild).
- Semi-hard: Semi-hard
cheeses are firm but still fairly moist inside their waxy inedible
rind, and include cheddar (produced pretty much all over the
English-speaking world, nutty flavored with strength running the
whole gamut) and Gouda (Netherlands, mild-to-medium and slightly
- Hard: These cheeses
generally have an inedible rind and a dry, crumbly interior that can
be broken into bite-size chunks. Favorites include Parmigiano
Reggiano (Italian, crumbly and with a distinctive bite) and Manchego
(Spain, mild and nutty).
- Goat's cheese:
Cheese made from goat's milk tends to be soft (though there are
semi-hard varieties) with a slight tanginess. At your friendly
neighborhood supermarket, you're most likely to find the
commercially-produced Montrachet (creamy and mildly tangy).
- Blue: The veiny bits
in blue cheeses are produced when cheese is injected with mold.
While this may sound less than appetizing in concept, the results
can be amazingly tasty, producing cheeses with a fantastic
complexity of flavors and a pronounced tang. A few blue cheeses you
might encounter: Gorgonzola (Italian, sweet and creamy), Stilton
(English, firm and relatively mild), Roquefort (French, firm and
piquant), Maytag Blue (American, crumbly and pungent), Danish blue
(Denmark, mild and creamy).
this way folks
lounge . nourish
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