Holiday Cheese Plate Guide, Take Two: Ideas.
I've been informed that as a cheese writer-blogger it is my duty to post about how to make a winter holiday cheese plate. As I am not the best at keeping up on my asbribed duties (I wait to water my house plants until they look like they're ready to croak and consider it a test to see how far my car will go with the yellow gas light on), it may or may not surprise you that I'm going to deliver as requested. Just in a slightly different way.
The thing is- there are already perfectly good and fabulous guides on how to make a winter cheese plate out there. Like this one that Casey Barber wrote on IVillage for which she interviewed my lovely cheese pal Tia Keenan and I. I've even said a little peice about holiday plates prior to Thanksgiving on my blog here.
Instead of trying to re-state or re-shape the wheel, I'm going to build off the wheel. Or, at least, I'm going to lightly push that wheel to get it rolling in hopes that it might be a little more helpful. In the aforementioned "Festive Fromage: How to Make the Perfect Cheese Tray" article, Tia and I shared a little advice.
Today I'm going to provide you with a little cheat sheet for following through with that advice. For a wedding, you want something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, well for a simple go-to cheese plate, it's easy to go with something A- mild & creamy, B- something hard and saltier, or firm and nutty, and C- something a little brighter and funkier (quick, someone make it rhyme!).
Here are some fabulous picks from to fill those genres, with links to read more about their deliciousness when applicable. The suggestions are merely that- use this as a guide only. I have faith that you can substitute at will! I know you guys are good.
MILD AND CREAMY
La Tur: - cow, sheep and goat.
Brazos Valley Eden (pic above)
Bent River brie- creamy, with cauliflower and truffle flavors.
Brie l'Original - rich, butter, mushroom.
Avalanche's Lamborn Bloomers - goat, mild, spreadable, sweet.
Mt. Townsend's Seastack - lightly tangy yet sweet, adorable, cow's milk.
Brillat Savarin (lead photo)
HARD AND SALTY, OR NUTTY AND FIRM
Abbaye de Belloc - nutty, brown butter
Comté - taste at a shop! There are some amazing importers, like Essex St, and then there are some bad ones, so try to taste before buying.
Pecorino- Foglie de Noce, Ginepro, try some new ones- go crazy!
Aged Goudas- salty & sweet & hard.
BRIGHT AND MAYBE FUNKY
Le Jeune Autize - like a goat's milk Morbier.
Mayor of Nye Beach - also goat's milk, lemony, funky, fresh.
Epoisses - creamy, stinky, sweet.
Cato Corner Hooligan - sliceable, sweet, funky, cow's milk.
Leaf-wrapped Robiola's - adorable, a little funky, and proud of it.
And.... you know how we mentioned the glorious-ity of bubbles and cheese? It's the truth, and it's easy. The following are some names of my favorite sparklings, from the Champagne region and beyond, and here's a more specific guide if you want to focus specifically on pairing cheese with sparklings.
Some of my quick go-tos:
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace; Raventos Cava; Labet, Macle, Puffeney Crémant de Jura; Sommariva or Bisson Proseccos; Schrambserg or Domaine Carneros sparklings from California; Pierre Peters, Domaine Bouchard, Marie-Courtin, Diebolt-Vallois Champagne.
Hope this guide helps, and, Happy Holidays!
In case you missed it:
"Wine & Cheese Gifts to Make Your Holidays Bright" - my guide for buying for wine dorks and cheese geeks, Menuism.