Thursday, June 4, 2015

One of Wines great companions is Cheese…Cheese makes you Happy! Here are some Easy Tips for Selecting Cheese and Accompaniments...

One of wines great companions is Cheese…Cheese makes you happy! A natural feel-good food. Even though these days, it has a bit of a decadent reputation where health, nutrition and weight loss are concerned.

Cheese is actually quite good for you.

Arguably, in our modern minds: far too much emphasis placed on diets and “low fat” options.

Here in America you can just look at the fortunately-slender and cheese-obsessed nation of France and wonder.

In fact, three of the world’s biggest cheese-consuming countries – France, Italy and Greece – have some of the lowermost rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease in the Western world.

Go Figure…

Probably the more you mess with food the worse it is for it…

Cheese is an excellent non-meat source of protein. It is packed with calcium. It’s also loaded with Vitamin D, which helps our bodies to absorb that calcium, along with folic acid, zinc, phosphorus, and Vitamins A, B2, B12, and K2. All that good stuff that can’t be denied.

Factoid: When consumed together with calcium, vitamins K2 and D3 are especially good at protecting your bones, brain and heart. Cheese has all three.  ..

How about that!.. Great News…Spread it!

So here are some Easy Tips for Selecting Cheese and Accompaniments...

Try to include a variety of textures and flavors. Most cheese belongs to one of four basic categories: aged, soft, firm, or blue.

 For a good variety, choose at least one from each group…

Here are some basic cheese examples:

  Aged: Aged Cheddar, Goat Gouda

  Soft: Camembert

  Firm: Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano

  Blue: Gorgonzola Dolce, Stilton

Another way you can try is by selecting cheeses by the type of milk used (cow, goat, sheep). This is where it can get interesting and experimental. It will ensure a range of different flavors on the plate.By the way, try to serve at least one familiar cheese that you know for sure…

How Much do I buy?

Well…plan on buying 3 pounds for 8 people, 6 pounds for 16, or 9 pounds for 24. Another way to think about it is to plan on buying 3 to 4 ounces per person.

What Accompaniments?  What else can we eat with Cheese!?!

Offer a selection of breads, including sliced baguette,  and crackers in all different shapes and sizes.   

Note: It’s a good idea to vary the taste and texture among the breads as well as the cheeses.

Other accompaniments include jarred jellies and preserves; or honey, chutneys, and spicy mustards. You can also add roasted red peppers and maybe prepare caramelized onions, which is a complement to most cheese plates…

Think also of what sweet and salty items often match up  well. Try cured meats such as prosciutto and salami. Nuts and pistachios are good…Also, dried fruits such as figs or cherries, pears are really good.

Here are some serving tips:

Separate strong-smelling cheeses from the milder ones...

If you want to serve a pungent, stinky cheese, place it on a separate plate so it doesn’t overpower more delicate ones.  Four or five choices are enough; more often than not these 'really' are the stars of the show and they pair up great with wine.

Just for starters, for me...the hard cheeses pair up with a Bordeaux, Napa Cabernet or a Chianti.
A Brie or triple cream cheeses with an un-oaked Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. For those Blue Cheeses, try a sweeter wine like a Tawny Port, late Harvest Riesling and Ice Wine.

Set out a separate knife for each cheese, mainly the soft varieties. Soft cheese spreads well with a butter style knife; the firm cheeses might require a paring knife; and aged cheese often requires a cheese plane with a handle to slice slivers, but I like to them in small chunks myself.

Remember Cheese tastes a lot better when approaching room temperature so remove the cheese from the refrigerator an hour before serving. Cold cheese stifles the flavors and aromas




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