Cheese Board Classics
Posted: Sunday, April 1, 2012
Round out your cheese board with these Imported Cheese CLASSICS, always great choices:
VINCENT GOUDA – Originally made in Holland in the pastures of Gouda, Gouda cheeses are now an international phenomenon. At 5 months old, Vincent is considered a young Gouda. It has an off-white paste and a nutty, honey-like, slightly caramel flavor.
MILTON CREAMERY'S PRAIRIE BREEZE CHEDDAR – Prairie Breeze is made by the Musser family, Mennonites from southern Iowa, and primarily by the oldest son, Galen (who started making cheese at age 16). They use fresh milk from grass-fed cows that family members raise on land surrounding the creamery. This nutty, creamy, slightly tangy award-winning Cheddar is perfect for any party.
VERMONT BUTTER AND CHEESE CREAMERY CRÈME FRAÎCHE – When Bob Reese and Allison Hooper co-founded VBCC in 1984, their first product was chèvre. Crème fraîche, their first cow's milk creation, followed close on its heels and gained instant acclaim from French chefs seeking cultured cream stateside. It is made with fresh, high-quality Vermont cream from the local St. Albans Cooperative, a coop of 500 family farms in northeastern Vermont. Crème fraîche is exquisitely rich, with a cultured, nutty flavor and creamy texture. A staple of French cuisine, it can be used in sauces, pastry, custard, or as a topping on pie, fruit or soup. Try it with lefse, smoked salmon and dill.
12-MONTH AGED MANCHEGO – Manchego is the most important and well-known sheep's milk cheese in Spain. The shape of this cheese is very characteristic and defined, due to the traditional use of esparto grass molds which imprint a zigzag pattern in the rind of the cheese. Manchego cheese has a long historic and literary tradition, as it was mentioned by Cervantes in the legendary Don Quixote of La Mancha. Today, there are two types of Manchego cheese: the farmhouse type, made with unpasteurized sheep's milk, and the industrial type, made with pasteurized milk. In both cases, milk from Manchego sheep is the only type used. Try this intense, slightly crumbly cheese with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, crusty bread and a robust Rioja or dry sherry.
LES TROIS PETITS COCHONS SAUCISSON SEC AUX CEPES (PORCINI SALAME) – A maker of award-winning pâté and charcuterie since 1975, Les Trois Petits Cochons (The Three Little Pigs) produces small-batch, European-style products using quality ingredients. Try Porcini Salame on an antipasto platter with red wine and aged cheeses.
ST. AGUR BLUE CHEESE – This delicious, creamy blue cheese is made from pasteurized cow's milk from the village of Beauzac in the Monts du Velay, part of the mountainous Auvergne region of central France. Developed in 1988 by the cheese company Bongrain, it is enriched with cream and contains 60% butterfat, qualifying it as a double-cream cheese. The strength and spice of this tangy blue is a result of cellar-aging it for 60 days. This moist, rich, white cheese has characteristic olive-green mold veins throughout and a smooth, creamy texture with a subtle, mildly spicy taste typically found in finer Roquefort. It is not as salty as more traditional blue cheese, and it spreads and melts easily. Try it with Corsican Fig and Walnut Confiture and A Gourmet Thyme Cacao Shortbread.
SARTORI SARVECCHIO – A Wisconsin cheese that is aged 20 months, this is arguably the best Parmesan-style cheese produced in the United States. It has complexity and a firm yet granular texture that is reminiscent of some of the best hard cheeses in the world. It makes a great cheese board cheese and also works well in recipes because it melts better than traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano. Try it with A Gourmet Thyme Pistachio Shortbread.
Selection and availability vary by market.