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how to put together a cheese plate by
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narrowing down your selection at the market and bringing the winning
assortment back home, a little care is in order if your party's still a
few days away, and you want to ensure that your cheese will stay tasty.
Now if you've bought your cheese at a supermarket, chances are high that
it'll come wrapped up in plastic. This is actually not a terribly good
way to store cheese, as the plastic traps in too much moisture and can
cause the cheese to get moldy (and not in a good blue-cheese way).
Greaseproof/wax paper or parchment paper actually makes a much better
wrap, as it'll keep enough moisture in that the cheese won't dry out,
while remaining permeable enough to allow the cheese to breathe. For
particularly pungent cheeses, wrap in a second layer of paper, or pop
the paper-wrapped cheese in a plastic bag, to keep the smell from
seeping out and into every other food item in its vicinity. Seal your
wrapped cheese with tape or a rubber band, and pop into the fridge.
Cheese is at its most flavorful when it's at room temperature. So about
an hour to a half-hour before party time, you'll want to take your
lovely cheeses out from the fridge, and let them warm up a bit.
|A nice, heavy
wood or bamboo cutting board makes a dandy surface on which to
display your cheese offerings, as it'll look purty and offer a
large flat surface on which to cut. There's no need to slice or
dice up your cheese in advance, as it'll only dry out midway
through your soiree. For whole cheeses, like Camembert, you can
cut out a small wedge to get things started just before the party
starts (and pop it on a cracker for yourself to enjoy, of course);
for all other cheese, simply serve whole (do make sure to discard
the wrapping, of course). Each cheese should have its own cutting
utensil -- a sharp knife for hard cheeses, a butter knife or other
good spreading utensil for softer cheeses) plus plenty of room around it to make it easy for guests
to help themselves.
a spanish cheese plate
• hunk of Manchego (hard, sharp and nutty)
• chunk of Cabrales (blue, crumbly and pungent)
• half or whole Tetilla (semi-soft & mellow, shaped rather amusingly
like a breast)
an italian cheese plate
• a bowl of bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls)
a slab of gorgonzola
a hunk of real parmigiano reggiano
a chunk of fontina
stop: more this way
lounge . nourish
host . laze
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