There’s nothing better than spreading good cheese on a cracker or a baguette; especially with fois gras or any kind of pate’. Having some jams and jellies and figs along with spreadable cheese works well too, it’s just sinful.
There are some places in town such as Datz on Macdill , Bin 27 and Mise en Plas on Kennedy that can fix you up an excellent tray of exotic cheeses and the lot. Those establishments are good place to experiment with wine and cheese in a setting outside the home. Sometimes that’s all you need. A couple of bottles of wine and a couple of cheese platters are great for sharing and very filling.
It is totally in good taste to ask your server to help you select. Even if they don’t know that much about the cheeses, they should be able to distinguish for you whether it’s a fresh cheese, soft white cheese, semi-soft cheese, hard cheese or blue cheese. That’s where the fun begins.
A semi-white cheese like Camembert will have a creamy interior with a mushroomy taste and melds well with several wines like a Chardonnay(Burgundy or California) or a Cabernet Sauvignon(Bordeaux or California) even California Zinfandel. How about Spanish Tempranillo! A Brie may yield similar flavor notes. Feeling frisky? A hard cheese like Cheddar would be a great partner with the same wines. It’s great to experiment and pay attention. It’ll just make you say “sheesh that’s cheese!” it tastes darn good and the flavors can be out of left field.
Your local Publix has a spreadable cheese made in France that apparently went through almost a year of back and forward taste testings to get it right for the American market. So you can imagine there was a lot of compromise and debate on what’s good and not. French cheese is sometimes hard to get over here in the states for the masses to enjoy. It’s called Creme de Saint Agur. Check it out and try it with some grapes, figs or blackberry jam. Glop in the bread and crackers! It’s a fine place to start if you want to jump in with both feet in a general way.