Something a little different this month–for the holidays I thought I would share my thoughts on a good way to build a cheese plate*. I know a lot of us have had our plans for gatherings cancelled or modified, but that doesn’t really change my recommendations. Any cheese plate can be a single-serving cheese plate if you put your mind to it.
Cheese Tasting Menu
Categories: Funky**Creamy**Blue**Aged**Wild Card
(A note on these notes. The example cheeses below are the ones that were available at my local Trader Joe’s. Your store and/or personal tastes may lead you to make some substitutions, which is fine. This is cheese; it’s just here to make you happy.)
Funky: Langres AOP
This is my favorite category, so we’re doing it first. Tasting notes for this cheese: mushroomy, lactic, rich. Ideally, you want one that will make anyone you live with wonder if something has gone off in the refrigerator, but not actually move out.
Creamy: Le Rustique Camembert
A reliable choice for when you want to maximize your intake of dairy fats. This one is a little on the sharp side; if you want a milder option look for a triple cream brie, Delice de Bourgogne, or fromage d’Affinois, a cheese I like so much I can spell it on the first try.
Blue: Point Reyes Original Blue
A Bay Area artisan classic. Their Bay Blue is milder–this one puts up a fight. Other options could be Rogue River Blue from the creamery of the same name, or cambazola, if you can’t get enough of the high-cream options.
Aged: Parmiagiano Reggiano Aged 40 months
Very savory, slightly nutty, with crunchy bits that are actually the crystalized proteins, not salt. You could also do a manchego, or some aged gruyere, or just eat the powdered stuff out of the green can, the world is ending, who cares.
Wild Card: British Mustard and Ale Cheddar Cheese
This is your opportunity to be a little crazy. See a cheese that makes you ask, “why would someone make that?” Go for it. I chose this relatively staid mustard flavored cheddar (the ale doesn’t really come through). Serious rarebit vibes, as the kids would say**.
*There really isn’t a bad one.
**I don’t know any kids.