Create Your Own Cheese Course
Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010
Cheese has been eaten as a snack or as part of a light meal all over Europe since the days of the ancient Greeks. It was the French who actually invented the cheese course, used at the end of a meal, before or instead of dessert. It has never been as popular in the United States, but there is scientific evidence that proves that cheese contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria that actually aid in digestion, and that much of the fat content remains unabsorbed by the body. Its salty taste and milky sweetness makes cheese an ideal bridge between savory and sweet courses and is satisfying enough to stand on its own. Besides, cheese is one of our most delicious foods! Follow these simple guidelines to create your own cheese course and adopt this European tradition.
- A cheese tray should contain 3 or 4 different types of cheese. An example might be a fresh goat cheese or triple crème; one soft fermented cheese such as a Brie or Camembert; one blue-veined cheese such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton or an American blue; and one firm cheese such as Cheddar, provolone, Gruyere, Gouda or Manchego.
- Accompaniments should include an assortment of breads and crackers; a variety of fruits including apples, pears, grapes and dried fruits such as figs; and walnuts and Marcona almonds from Spain add variety to any combination.
- Pairing a wine with your cheese course is the perfect accent. Although red wine is the traditional wine to serve with cheese, white wine goes very well with fresh goat cheese and sweet wines often complement blue cheese and other strong cheeses.
- Cheese should be removed from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before it is to be served in order to develop its characteristic flavor and odor.