More Cheese, Please

A phrase I often say.  As you can probably tell from many of my posts, I love cheese.  I have it almost every day.  (My cholesterol levels happen to be great in case you were wondering.)  Be it cow, sheep, goat or a combo.  Soft, semi-soft or hard.  Great on its own or simply paired with some cured meats or fruit.  I’m a firm believer that almost everything can benefit from a little cheese.

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Italian breakfast

With all the options out there, those who loathe the thought of fromage are starting to change their rinds minds.  A stilton with mango or an espresso washed pecorino can tempt the tastebuds of the even most cheese averse.  But the silky burrata, mild manchego, creamiest brie or nutty aged gouda might be a better place to convert any cheese haters you know.  And if not, they surely won’t go to waste – at least not at my house.

Cheese is accessible.  It seems even the corner stores are selling gourmet cheeses these days.  In Europe, you can find cheese on the street at the weekly markets.

Typical cheese cart at a weekly market in Germany

Specialty cheese shops now are popping up all over the US.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try making a simple ricotta or mozzarella in the comforts of your home kitchen.  (Looking for a Christmas present for a cheese lover you know?  Think about a home cheesemaking kit….)

Cheese is versatile.  Serve it a plate for an appetizer or instead of dessert.  Have a cheese omelet or gratin as a main — for breakfast or dinner.  Add parm or goat cheese to mashed potatoes or cauliflower puree for a tasty side.  Top a steak or some lamb chops with gorgonzola.  The options are as varied as types of cheese.

Cheese plate in Burgundy

When you’re stumped for what to serve or need something quick for unexpected holiday guests, have some cheese on hand.  Instead of a typical cocktail party, invite friends over for a tasting party and encourage guests to bring new cheeses.  Pair them with wine, beer or whiskey and see how the taste changes.  Even the stinkiest cheeses can be a lot of fun.

Handkase: a “digestif”

Keep trying different milks and consistencies to figure out your preferences.  The only cheese I can say that I’ve tried and will not recommend is that odd “handkase” peculiar to Frankfurt that bubbles in your tummy.  Fortunately, you’re not likely to find that at your local cheesemonger.

As always, let me know if you have any particular favorites or local cheeses.  I’m always looking for something new to try.

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