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The cheese plate - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
The cheese plate
One day soon, I'll write about something other than food. Today, apparently, is not that day.

Folks are gathering tonight to watch the second to last Carnivale, and I've decided not just to bring cheese, but to assemble plates for anyone intrigued. I've inadvertently found my way to a selection of iterations of cow's milk cheese, and the plan so far is:

Fromage Blanc with Maine blueberry preserves: Fresh cheese of my own making, and preserves made by the parents of one of my coworkers.

Pierre Robert: French triple cream.

Aged Mahón with unfiltered olive oil, black pepper and tarragon: From Menorca and served in the traditional fashion. This one's for Sam, if only because I keep talking it up to her.

... and a fourth. I think I'd like to include something like a Stilton or some other blue, but I can't remember how many of us are unfond of blues. The alternative is a well-aged hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano or Mimolette. Comments/suggestions are appreciated.

~*~

For the curious, these are the cheeses included in our cheese course at No. 9 Park (at least to the best of my remembrance...)
Taleggio (cow, Italy)
Gratte Paille (triple cream cow, France)
Comte (cow's milk gruyere style, Jura, France)
Aged Gorgonzola (cow, Italy)
Pradera (extra-aged cow's milk gouda, Holland)
Selles Sur Chere (goat, France)
Chevre des Collines (goat, Pyrennees, France)
Berkswell (sheep, England)
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Comments
starflow From: starflow Date: March 25th, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG! *dies*
komos From: komos Date: March 25th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
If I'm eliciting teenage netspeak, I must be doing something right. ;P
sassyinkpen From: sassyinkpen Date: March 25th, 2005 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are a cruel cruel man...
komos From: komos Date: March 25th, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a gift.

That, and I'm very curious to see how the fromage blanc will be received.
laughingwoman From: laughingwoman Date: March 25th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
i've been all kinds of in love with spanish cheeses of late. if you want something hard and different for the last, maybe give idizabal a chance. a teensy bit smokey sheep's milk cheese that just makes me groan with delight.

*pout*

i wish i was coming to your cheese plate party.
komos From: komos Date: March 25th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Spanish cheese. It's not that uncommon for me to be standing with Idizabal in one hand and Garrotxa in the other not being able to make a decision. Have you tried Torta Mille Orvejas?

I do have something of an open-door policy... ^_^
wildflowersoul From: wildflowersoul Date: March 25th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy crap. We are lucky, lucky folks. You will put my chili & biscuits to shame! =)
c_m_i From: c_m_i Date: March 25th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothing I know can shame your biscuts, baby.
cris From: cris Date: March 25th, 2005 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
can you recommend a good Mahón cheesemaker? or at least a good age to watch for? I've been underwhelmed by the last two that I picked up, as they basically came off as milder Manchegos without much in the way of complexity.
komos From: komos Date: March 25th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, I don't recall the name of the maker I've been buying. From what you're describing, it sounds like you're getting younger cheeses. The aged Mahon tends to be more pungent, at times giving an almost wine-y front flavor.

I often find that sheep cheeses are more complex than similar ones from cow. I'm not sure if it's because of the increased milkfat content in the former, but it seems like the flavor of the land and of the animals' diet comes through so much more.
emzebel From: emzebel Date: March 25th, 2005 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had a sage derby as part of a cheese plate last month which was quite tasty - it might make a nice addition in a sort of "blue" way, without actually being a blue cheese...(actually it is quite blue-green in color, but that's from the sage, not from moldy bits)...

You are making me hungry again...;P
komos From: komos Date: March 25th, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Would you be disappointed if I said I know nothing about it? I will have a look while I'm out to see if it's available, though.

In an earlier permutation of the plate, I was thinking about using Corsican Brin d'Amour. It's a similar concept, I think, except that the herbs are encrusted on the cheese rather than included in it.

Personally, I don't understand the reservations about bloomy cheese, but I will occasionally try to accommodate.^_^
schmi From: schmi Date: March 25th, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Seeing as you seem to know quite a bit about cheese, you would be a good person to approach about cheese advice. Do you know of a good guide to picking out good gourmet cheeses? Just the kind you can cut in cubes and eat, and that maybe go well with certain wines?

Whenever I go to the supermarket, my mind is boggled by the huge amount of choices!!
komos From: komos Date: March 25th, 2005 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
The first book I usually point to is Steve Jenkins, A Cheese Primer. It's badly in need of a second edition and there are some minor factual errors (the most celebrated is the photo on p. 116 of a woman cutting Emmental which is captioned as Comte), but it provides a solid education, including what pairs well with various cheeses as sides and drinks.

For a less voluminous reference, I'd probably look at something like McCalman & Gibbons' The Cheese Plate, which has less focus on individual cheeses and more on what to do with it all.
rciaodree From: rciaodree Date: March 27th, 2005 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you ever tried Celtic Promise? It smells like butthole, but is sort of tasty.
komos From: komos Date: March 29th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah confession...

It's only just recently that I've been learning British cheeses. I don't really have a good reason beyond letting myself be more excited by those of France, Spain, and Italy. :\ I did go to a tasting of English and Irish cheeses at Whole Foods recently, and am happy to say that there were at least a couple that I was very impressed with.

So no, I haven't, but I am a fan of washed-rind cheeses, so I'm guessing I'd like it.
rciaodree From: rciaodree Date: March 27th, 2005 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, if you are ever in NYC, you should pay a visit to Artisanal and join their Cheese Club.
komos From: komos Date: March 29th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's the cheese club about?
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