Even though shopping at a grocery store is extremely convenient, who can truly say they enjoy shopping at grocery stores? The one main reason we all shop at them is because they house pretty much everything you need under one roof. Depending on the quality of the grocery store, there are usually 4 counters worth going to- cheese, meat, fish, and cooked meats.
Grocery Store Cheese
If you are lucky, there may be some cheese which isn’t drowning in vacuum packed, plastic wrap and actually resemble real cheese, not scrunched up chamois leathers that have been left in a water bucket overnight. You may even be able to smell and sample the cheese at the store to make sure you want it!
It all depends on what you expect to pay and what you want from your cheese. Although there are cheap and unpleasant options available, there are some options on the more expensive side that will satisfy your taste buds, you just have to shop around and try to sample some.
It is important to read the labels, it may have a sticker that indicates where it was made, but organic cheeses will have a separate logo to certify that they are organic. Vegetarian and vegan cheeses will also show the correct label. If they do not contain stamps of certification, you cannot trust how the cheese was produced. There will also be information on where the product came from, ingredients used, nutritional information, allergy warnings, use by date and storage instructions all there for our careful consideration.
The choice is entirely down to you when you’re buying cheese off the shelf of a grocery store, but if you are lucky enough to find a knowledgeable cheese counter assistant, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Locally Purchased Cheese
If you are lucky to have a specialist cheese shop nearby and have never been in, make sure you do and compare the experience and quality with your usual cheese source. Just walking into the store is a whole different experience, it’s as though your senses are reawakened. Farmers markets especially are great places to try before you buy and specialist cheese stores might be willing to let you try the cheese before you buy it. The people who work in these stores are also bursting with the knowledge to help your every cheese need, with a lot more option and variety. They can introduce you to so many cheeses you didn’t even know existed.
If your cheese store is far away, make it an exclusive day out and slow down and enjoy the experience.
Online Cheese Purchasing
Online is a good way of having the best of both worlds. If you have previously visited a cheese store and know exactly what you like, online makes it so you don’t have to go anywhere and you can access the best cheese, no matter what. Shisler’s Cheese House has an online store as well as physical stores to ensure our customers get the best of both worlds. Whether you are looking for a little something for yourself or a gift for a fellow cheese lover, online mail ordered cheese can make the process so much easier and better. With there being thousands of different varieties of cheese, online gives us the chance to access them all, from our very own devices.
Although the Hispanic cuisine is usually hot and spicy, the cheeses of Mexico and the Caribbean are far from it. The most popular cheeses of the region are the fresh white varieties. They may be quite mild, but they add rich, creamy flavor to the huge number of local recipes available.
Cheesy Mexican and Caribbean dishes like queso Frito, enchiladas, and chile Rellenos are famous all around the world. It’s almost impossible to imagine that before Spanish colonization, the inhabitants of Mexico lived largely on a diet of fruit and vegetables. The art of cheese making wasn’t even known until the Spaniards brought cows and goats to the area!
Cheese is still being produced in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, from the milk of cattle who originally came from Europe all those years ago. In other famous cheese making areas like Queretaro, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, cheese monger stalls are full with cheeses packed into baskets, wrapped in corn husks or rolled like twine.
The best cheeses from these regions are completely different in every way to Amercian or European cheeses, and they are very worth experiencing:
Chihuahua is a pale yellow cow’s milk cheese which can also be named Queso Menonita because of the Mennonite communities of Northern Mexico where it was first produced. The flavor is mild, slightly sour and salty, but actually turns sharp and tangy and very similar to Cheddar, with age. People often use it to make fundido, which is Mexican fondue.
This smooth, soft cow’s milk cheese has a creamy, milk flavor and a slightly elastic texture. It is a family favorite for snacking on and melting into savory dishes such as quesadillas. A variety of this is called Queso Jalapeno and it has bits of jalapenos mixed into the paste for more spice and zest.
Cotija is sharp, aged cheese that is known as the “Parmesan of Mexico”. It gets its name from the town of Cotija Michoacan where it came from originally. It is made with goat or cow’s milk and has a firm texture and strong flavor with distinctive salty notes. It makes for a good garnish for salads, chili, or pasta.
Queso Media Luna
Also known as Queso De Papa, this Colby-type cheese with its firm, moist texture and orange color has a smooth mild to a tangy flavor. It is a popular cheese in Puerto Rico and is from the Caribbean. Perfect for snacking on or baking with.
These fresh white cheeses of Mexico and the Caribbean can become warm and soft, without melting when they are heated. They were traditionally crafted by local artisans and delivered to market wrapped in banana leaves.
Queso Oaxaca (Asadero)
From the Oaxaca region, this famous cow’s milk cheese is a stretched curd variety which is similar in texture to Provolone. It is either white or pale yellow and is kneaded and wound into balls before being plunged into brine for several minutes. This semi-soft cheese has a mild to a buttery and sweet flavor.
This cheese is firmly pressed and rolled in mild chili powder or paprika to give it a distinctive red coating and slightly piquant flavor. It is made with skimmed cow or goat’s milk, with a hard, dry texture that softens under heat but does not melt. It makes a delicious snack with a tequila or spicy Mexican beer cocktail.
Queso Fresco (Adobera)
Queso Fresco is the most commonly used Hispanic variety. It is a soft and spongy white cheese which is made from a combination of cow and goat’s milk. The flavor is mild and salty with fresh acidity. Because of its fine-grained texture, the favored use for it is crumbling it over enchiladas and taquitos for added flavor.
Panela (Queso de Canasta)
This is the most popular fresh cheese in Mexico. It is white, mild cheese which retains the unique imprint from the basket it is made in. The texture is soft and crumbly, with many different varieties being produced, Panela can be found wrapped in toasted avocado leaves or coated with garlic and chili paste.
It is traditionally fresh cow’s milk cheese which is flavors cross between Italian Mozzarella and salty cream cheese. The process of creating this cheese is done by Artisans who coagulate the curd with lemon juice, giving it the creamy, but crisp citrus flavor.
Queso Para Freir
This cheese is popular in the Caribbean and throughout South America. It is a mild, white cheese and a variation of Queso Blanco, but a lot saltier and firmer. Queso Para Freir is great for fried dishes such as the popular Queso Frito because it resists melting.
As cheese lovers, it’s easy to know all about the different cheeses available however, there are some simple wonders and questions we are left with regarding things like presentation and storage so here are some quick answers to help all your cheese queries.
Can You Eat Cheese When You’re On A Diet?
If you enjoy cheese in moderation, it can easily fit into a healthy diet. In fact, cheese is a good source of essential nutrients such as calcium, protein and Vitamin A. These nutrients are important for keeping your skin and eyes healthy, your bones and teeth strong, and your muscles growing. Studies have shown that if you eat a piece of cheese after eating a meal or a sugary snack, it can restore minerals of tooth enamel and protect your teeth against cavities.
Which Cheeses Have The Lowest And Highest Levels of Fat?
Every cheese will come with its own nutritional profile which will be displayed on the label. Labels make it easier for if you are watching your fat intake as you can refer to it for the cheese’s fat facts. However, here are some general guidelines for if you find yourself at a cheese dinner party where there are no labels:
Low-Fat Cheeses: Cheeses like cottage cheese, Quark, Ricotta, and Edam. Also, any cheeses which are labeled with low-fat, reduced-fat, and even fat-free versions of your favorite cheeses are readily available.
Medium Fat Cheeses: These cheeses include Camembert, Brie, Emmental, Edam, Feta, and Mozzarella, as well as a lot of process cheeses and soft goat’s milk cheeses.
High Fat Cheeses: Cheeses such as Cheddar, Cheshire, Caerphilly, Gouda, Gruyere, Parmesan, and Stilton are all high in fat but deliciously addictive!
Why Doesn’t Reduced-Fat Cheese Melt Well?
A lot of reduced-fat cheeses are made with added gums and stabilizers to help stimulate the flavor and texture to make them similar to the full-fat varieties. While these cheeses are great for shredding into salads, snacking on, or topping sandwiches, they do not perform well when heated. The reason for this is because of the lower amount of fat in the cheese. Without a decent amount of fat, the heated cheese won’t melt into a creamy texture, it will instead be turned into a hardened, clumpy, stringy mess. The best way to avoid that is to just use a full-fat variety for melting, because a little does go a long way, so it shouldn’t be too bad for you.
How Long Should You Keep Cheese?
No matter how well you store your cheese, it will still continue to ripen in your refrigerator. This is why it is especially important to consume soft cheeses soon after you have purchased them. Once you open soft cheeses, they will only keep for around one to two weeks.
On the other hand, harder cheeses tend to remain fresher for longer. Blue cheeses will keep for one to four weeks, cheddars and swiss cheeses will keep for several weeks, and hard cheeses are usually good to eat for several months.
Also, large pieces of cheese keep a lot longer than shredded cheese, which is why labels usually state to consume shortly after opening the packet.
What Is Processed Cheese?
It was first invented in 1911 by Switzerland’s Walter Gerber. Then, in 1916, James L. Kraft applied for his method for his processed cheese to be patented. A lot of processed cheeses today are sold in individually wrapped sandwich slices, which are great for melting into burgers, but definitely not for serving with fine wine!
Processed cheeses usually consist of a blend of fresh and aged cheeses combined with some preservatives, coloring, and emulsifiers to make them smooth and ease melting. They are then pasteurized to stop the ripening process which ultimately gives the cheese a longer shelf life. This does come at some sacrifice though because processed cheese definitely lacks the distinctive flavor and texture that natural cheese has.
Is It Best To Serve Cheese Chilled Or At Room Temperature?
It is usual that you will serve cream cheeses like Ricotta, Boursin and Quark chilled, however all the other variety of cheese are best enjoyed at room temperature. Room temperature is when cheese is at its best level of flavor, texture, and aroma. If you eat cheese too cold, you are basically missing out, so just remove cheese from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving and enjoy!
Can You Freeze Cheese?
It is fine to freeze cheese, it can be frozen to make it last a lot longer. You do however have to understand that cheese which is frozen will go through some textural changes. Softer cheeses may separate, and harder cheeses may become crumbly. However, if you are going to use the frozen cheese in cooked dishes, you probably won’t notice any difference.
A quick tip to freezing cheese is to double wrap it and only keep it in the freezer for up to six months. When you are ready to take it out the freezer, thaw it in the refrigerator and use the cheese within a few days.
If you’re a lover of wine, you’ve most likely had a glass of Chardonnay at some point in your life. However, the Chardonnay you most recently tried is probably a lot different to the one your friend drinks after work. This is because Chardonnay can vary so much as it is the most versatile varieties in the entire world. It has a rich history and flavor profile which ranges at every point of the spectrum. Even though it is one of the most popular varieties in the world, it can be one of the hardest to understand and wrap your mind around.
Here is everything you have ever wondered about Chardonnay:
Where does Chardonnay come from?
Chardonnay’s origin is in the eastern part of France- Burgundy. It is known as the best region for growing the variety, in the world.
Is Chardonnay a grape or a region?
It is a green-skinned grape variety that is used to create white wines in regions all around the world.
Where is Chardonnay grown?
Every wine-producing region of the world grows Chardonnay currently. A lot of the popular regions are Burgundy, California, Austrailia and Washington, even though the grape is also grown in many other regions.
Where are the most renowned regions for Chardonnay?
The most renowned region is believed to be its birthplace-Burgundy. It produces the best Chardonnay in the world, notably within the Chablis and Côte de Beaune areas. In Côte de Beaune, many Grands Crus, such as Montrachet, Corton, and Charlemagne, are some of the most highly regarded Chardonnay.
What is the difference between Burgundy and Chablis?
Chablis is a wine district situated within the Burgundy region. It is the northernmost zone in Burgundy and Chardonnay produced in Chablis has much more acidity, wet rock notes, and less fruity flavors than Chardonnay grown in warmer areas like Côte de Beaune.
What kind of wine does Chardonnay make?
Chardonnay is commonly known for its dry white wines that again, are all over the spectrum in flavor. It can range from super high-acid to rich, full-bodied wines, that’s what makes Chardonnay so diverse and unique.
What is Oak Chardonnay?
During the end of the 20h century, “butter bomb” Chardonnay became increasingly popular, which meant taking the juice and aging it in new oak to impart creamy, “buttery” flavors. However, in today’s society, the love for Oak Chardonnay is declining, with people gravitating more towards balanced bottles.
How much does Chardonnay cost?
The cost can range all over the spectrum, with the cheapest bottles being as little as $5 and bottles like Grands Crus going for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Cheese is the perfect course of a special meal and a delicious snack at any other time. It can be paired with so much different, complimenting food and drinks, what made port a good cheese pairing?
Facts About Port
The name “Port” comes from its place of origin, Oporto, in Portugal. The Methuen Treaties of 1703 made it so Portugal was in the Grand Alliance in the war of the Spanish Succession. In return for allowing English cloth free access to the Portuguese markets, Portuguese wines had to be cheaper than French wines to make sure the constant supply of wine was quality wine.
No other country are allowed to call their fortified wines port because the vineyards in Douro Valley are the only place where the grapes for port are grown.
The best temperature to serve port is 55-65F, although, white port is usually served chills and tawny port can be served at cooler temperatures as well.
There are many different kinds of port, around 9 styles, so, which port is best to serve with our favorite cheese?
The finest ports are vintage. The first vintage ports were declared in 1734 and it is still an ongoing term used on the port which is produced in years when grape production is described as ‘exceptional’. LBV is an abbreviation of Late Bottled Vintage and is filtered and bottled vintage port.
Unfiltered ports are called ‘crusted’, they need careful decanting to get rid of any sediment before they are served.
White port is a lot newer than other styles of ports, first produced in 1934 and the dry type is popular as an aperitif.
The Traditions of Serving Port
The British Naval tradition of serving port was that it should literally be served from ‘port to port’ at the end of dinner. Another well known port-passing ceremony is within the armed force and went as follows:
-The port is placed in front of the host.
– The host serves guests to the right.
– The host then passes port to guest on the left.
– The remaining guests then pour their own port and pass it to their left until it is returned to the host.
This is the accepted way to serve port during formal dinners and it is thought that if you were to ask for the port to be passed to you, you’re considered to show a lack of social standing.
Which Cheese Is Best To Serve With Port?
The cheese which is most popular with port is commonly Stilton.
Stilton is salty, creamy and acidic whereas Port is a heavy, sweet fortified wine. This makes for a good pairing because the flavors and textures compliment each other greatly and both have been available for hundreds of years.
A lot of good blue cheeses also have the strength to challenge the dominant flavors of port so that neither of them overpowers one another. So if you are not a fan of Stilton, most blue cheeses are a good option, the best thing to do is visit your local cheese store such as Shisler’s Cheese House and ask for recommendations.
An even more bizarre thing to do with port and cheese is serving white port with cream cheese! You wouldn’t think of that, would you? The best thing to do is explore with flavors because that is where it ultimately all begins and is how experts are still creating new cheeses to this day!
It is commonly assumed that cheese is popular all over the world, but that is not the case. It may be hard to imagine the world without cheese, but in many Asian countries, cheese is not a food with much cultural or culinary significance.
For example, in China, milk, and dairy products have been historically rare. The biggest reason behind this is the high rate of lactose intolerance, along with other reasons such as poor climate, and storage and transportation issues.
In this modern day, however, the technological advancements are changing times in Asia, enabling the cheese market to grow. One day, there might be a whole range of delicious cheeses available throughout Asia, but for now, let’s explore some varieties from current and notable Asian cheese-producing countries. These countries include the Philippines and India, and whether it is made from yak’s milk, blended with confections or enjoyed fresh, the cheese in Asia may be little, but they are unique nonetheless.
This cheese is also known as Filipino cottage cheese. It is a fresh cheese which is made from rennet, salt and unskimmed milk of carabao, which is a species of Southeast Asian water buffalo. Kesong Puti is a soft cheese which is white colored with salty, but sometimes sour flavors. Its origin is in the provinces of Laguna, Samar, Bulacan, Cebu and it remains fairly popular in those areas as a breakfast food. Common pairings with this cheese are a freshly baked piece of local bread called “pan de sal”.
Bandel is a soft, unripened salted cheese which gets its name from the place it originates- Bandel. This cheese is made out of cow’s milk, and they use lemon juice to separate the curds from the whey. It is then shaped and drained into baskets and smoked. Bandel is sold in circular flats immediately after production and is fresh and aromatic because of that.
Perhaps the most well known of all the Asian cheese, this traditional cheese is semi-soft and made from cow’s milk. Traditionally used in Indian cuisine, the process of making Paneer does not involve rennet because cows are sacred to Hindus. It is also unaged, acid-set and is completely vegetarian. A lot of curry dishes include Paneer or it is wrapped in dough and fried for snacks because it is high in protein. The cheese is similar in texture to ricotta or tofu and acts as a perfect meat substitute for vegetarians.
Nepal and Tibet
Commonly found in Nepal, Bangladesh, Chhena is a unripened, fresh curd cheese made from either water buffalo milk or cows milk. The process of crafting Chhena is similar to that of Italian ricotta, where the cheese is acid-coagulated. It is often used as a dessert cheese because it is very soft and smooth. Sweet desserts such as resgulla and semolina commonly include Chhena as an ingredient.
Tibet is crafted from yak’s milk. It is semi-hard and gets its name from the plateau region of Central Asia where it is made. The cheese is molded, pressed and dried in natural sun and wind. The taste is extremely strong.
This unique cheese is crafted in Nepal by Tibetan nomads. It is an aged dri’s milk (female yak) cheese which is firm and slightly granular. The color is greenish-yellow and can be mild to medium in strength with flavors similar to goat’s milk Ibores cheese from Spain. There is only one time period of the year this cheese is made- from the end of June to early September. The aroma is mild and nutty with the rind offering just a hint of spice.
This soft cheese is produced on the island of Hokkaido and is the first widely acclaimed variety from the Asian country of Japan. It is so popular that it even won a gold medal at the Mountain Cheese Olympics in Switzerland. Sakura is creamy white with flavors of mountain cherry leaves, which is also where it gets its name from because Sakura translates from “cherry blossom” in Japenese.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching and it is the one day of the year which is dedicated to pampering moms everywhere… Also, a great excuse to drink lots of wine!
Choosing a bottle of wine doesn’t always mean picking the most expensive bottle. If you’re picking some wine for your mom, the best thing to do is find out what she loves best. It can range from aromatic white and crisp sparkling wines to refreshing rosés and silky reds. Either way, this list is sure to please any mom who deserves the best:
Berlucchi Franciacorta ’61 Rosé
This wine is a signature sparkling wine of Italy’s Lombardy region, Franciacorta is made in the same way that champagne is. The reason it has ’61 in the name is because Guido Berlucchi began producing the style in 1961, and has remained the leader of the region ever since. It is a beautiful salmon pink wine with flavors or lemon, strawberry, and berry. It is a refined, medium-bodied sparkling wine and pairs very well with shellfish and aged cheeses.
Rack & Riddle North Coast Blanc de Blancs
Rack & Riddle is a special wine as it is part of the handful of wineries in California that still use the méthode champenoise, which is a traditional French process which is used to produce sparkling wine. The attention to detail that this winery employs is definitely noticeable within the taste of North Coast Blanc de Blancs. This sparkling wine is full of bright and fruity aromas of melon and green apple, along with strong complimenting flavors of lemon curd and lime to reserve a smooth and crisp finish.
Smith-Madrone 2013 Riesling
Smith-Madrone 2013 Riesling originates from terroir in which the winemaker Stuart Smith purchased back in 1971. The Smith-Madrone vineyards have been producing grapes perfect for crafting German and French style wines. This particular wine has intense aromas of stone fruit, honeysuckle, and white flower. It also has notes of citrus and stone fruit in its flavor which is rounded out by a creamy finish.
Cherry Tart 2013 Chardonnay
This delicious type of Chardonnay is a blend of grapes from the Cherry Pie winery. The winery has three vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Monterey counties. It is 100 percent Chardonnay which has a strong aroma of white fruit and flower. The taste is rich with notes of marzipan, pineapple, and caramelized pear, there is also a hint of oak throughout.
Whitehaven 2014 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
This white wine is quintessentially Marlborough in its aromas and flavors. It is a medium-bodied wine with notes of gooseberry, peach, and herbs in its aroma and intense tropical fruit and citrus flavors on the palate. Because of its hand-harvested grapes which are grown in the warm New Zealand Climate, it is vibrant, acidic and crisp.
Columbia Winery 2013 Columbia Valley Merlot
This wine is deep red colored and produced from volcanic soil of central Washington. It boasts fragrant aromas of spice and plum along with dark berry and vanilla. A great pairing with wine would be poultry because of its vivid acidity.
Regusci Winery 2012 Matrona Red Wine
It takes its name from the Italian word for “matriarch” and is crafted in honor of Livia Regusci who was the founding mother of the historic family ranch. This red is more of a vintage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in which it offers rich fragrances of cherry and berries. The berry flavors are also a big part of the taste, along with delicious notes of dark chocolate and coffee beans.
Elizabeth Chambers Cellar 2013 Winemaker’s Cuvée Pinot Noir
Elizabeth Chambers Cellar 2013 Winemaker’s Cuvée Pinot Noir is a delicious blend of grapes from Falcon Glen, Lazy River, and Russell Grooters vineyards. Not only that, but this Pinot Noir is aged for 15 months in French Oak barrels and is most desirable after being in the bottle for more than 2 years. Its notes of cherry aroma and flavors of strawberry and rhubarb are pleasure in a glass.
Solace 2014 Rosé
This is another wine in which is produced using the French méthode provençale, which the process entails red grapes being grown and harvested solely for the production of the rosé. On the nose, the aromas are strong with notes of white flower and some peach. With juicy flavors of raspberry, strawberry ad melon, this wine is a delicious refresher.
Jorge Ordoñez & Co. No. 2 Victoria
Winning multiple awards, this wine had to be included. It is made from 100 percent Muscat Alexandria. Notes of mango, peach, apple and lemon are throughout in flavor and aroma. The crisp acidity balances out the sweetness, making it a delicious dessert wine.
If you are a cheese lover, it is already hard enough to choose between your favorite Mozzarella, Stilton or Cheddar. Not only that but in recent years, creameries have created another delicious choice for us: Organic.
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Organic cheese is very much like many other organic agricultural products on the market, organic cheese is produced without the use of antibiotics, growth hormones, or dangerous pesticides. The milk used to produce the organic cheese comes from all organic farms where cows only eat organically grown grasses. The cheese is also free from artificial coloring or flavorings, and a lot of the time, enzyme rennet, which is used to curdle the milk, is not made from animals or genetically engineered. In place of them are naturally occurring enzymes, making organic cheese not only delicious but safe for vegetarians too.
It is always the case that when you buy food, it is important to find something that tastes good, and is generally good for you. The good thing about organic cheese is that they are often superior in taste and quality and have received many rewards from cheese connoisseurs and professional critics.
While organic cheese is great for your taste buds, the benefits of buying it stretch farther than just your body. Buying it positively affects everything from your personal health to farm animal welfare, to even the earth’s endangered environment. To put it all into perspective:
Organic Cheese Affects On Your Health
Organic cheese contains all the goodness from regular cheese, including the high levels of protein and calcium. However, research has proven that due to cows having a natural pasture-fed diet, cheese made from organic milk is much higher in nutritional value.
– Research has shown that there are more Antioxidants in organic cheese, with it being 2-3 times higher in antioxidants such as lutein. It is also proven that organic milk is up to 50% higher in vitamin E and 75% higher in beta-carotene. They all fight damaging free radicals and can perhaps aid the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
– Studies have shown that there are more Omega-3s, containing up to 71% more than non-organic milk. Omega-3s are vital for maintaining a healthy heart, strong bones and teeth and flexible joints.
– Organic cheeses also lower the exposure to the toxins and pesticides that often come from factory farming practices. This is very important for children in particular because their rapidly growing nervous systems are more sensitive to the effects of these harmful compounds.
The Welfare Of Animals
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Another great thing about organic farming is that organic dairy farmers are also committed to the humane treatment of farm animals. Cows are not pumped with protein or antibiotics to force them into producing more than their natural capacities. They are kept in good health, fed an organic diet and have access to fresh air, natural light, and open pasture as much as possible.
Also, another important part of organic farming is that if the cows become sick, they are treated holistically with homeopathic medicines whereas, at non-organic farms, cows are routinely given antibiotics to prevent infection, even when they are healthy. While antibiotics are useful for fighting disease, they become less effective when used excessively. This has an onset effect for humans as we are being exposed to the antibiotics and they may lose effectiveness in treating humans too.
The Effects On The Environment
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You wouldn’t think that organic farming would have an effect on the environment, but it actually does. Organic farmers are not permitted to use chemicals that pollute the air, water or food. Instead, organic farmers use non-toxic pest control methods and sustainable farming techniques like crop rotation and composting. These methods ensure rich, healthy soils while conserving water and fossil fuels. They also are encouraging to wildlife, which has drastically declined over the last 50 years.
Labeling is definitely important when cheese buyers are seeking higher nutritional value, toxin free and humane farming practices. In the U.S. it is the law to have certified organic labeling. There are numerous standards which are enforced by organic certification authorities. If you are in doubt, it is best to check your cheese packaging for organic accreditation. When cheese is labeled organic, it must contain at least 95% organically produced raw or processed agricultural products. Labels will usually contain the standard USDA certification.
When creating and serving cheese boards, nations always tend to serve them differently. For instance, here in America we actually serve cheese boards as a starter whereas in France they serve them right before dessert, and in England, they serve them as the finale (save the best ’til last, right?) The fact is, regardless of when we serve cheese boards, they are a deliciously welcomed indulgence, especially in the finer restaurants and at dinner parties.
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When it comes to cheese boards, it can vary what you put on them, they can be as simple or as extravagant as you please. However, when it comes to preparing and presenting your cheese board, it can be tricky as they tend to be like a work of art. So here is a perfect guide to help you select and display the best cheese board to be enjoyed to the fullest. Crack open a bottle of wine and indulge in your favorite cheese as you plan your next cheese board.
Selecting What Goes On Your Cheese Board
When it comes to preparing your board, it is best to serve around 4-5 cheeses, this will ensure a good selection while not overwhelming your palate at the same time. Visiting a good cheese store (such as Shisler’s Cheese House!) will ensure variety and good quality cheese. A great tip when you are selecting your cheese would be to aim for different tastes, styles, and textures.
A sample of an interesting but relatively simple cheese board would be:
If you want to go further with your selections, you should add a spreadable cheese such as fresh chevre, or an extra special cheese which is flavored with wine, herbs or spices.
Keep It Themed!
To make your board even more creative, it is great to build around a theme. An idea could be to offer only cheese from different kinds of milk- cow, sheep, or goat’s milk. Another theme could be to offer cheese from a particular country or region a.k.a all American cheeses or Italian cheeses only. Keeping themes will ensure fun and variety. You could even pair the cheese board with a selection of wines from the chosen region as well.
How To Present Your Cheese Board
Now is the important part. You could have the most delicious cheeses possible, but if they are not presented in a way that gets mouths watering, it can be a waste. The best way to begin is by choosing a tray or platter which is large enough to keep cheeses of different shapes and sizes from touching. The type of board can also vary, wood boards are traditional, whereas marble is slightly more elegant and they offer a cool surface and a nicely colored background which will contrast well to make your cheeses pop even more.
Arranging your cheeses is important for making sure they are most accessible to your guests. Put the smaller cheeses in the middle, and then place the soft cheeses around them. The hard cheeses should then be arranged on the outside of the cheese board so that they are easier to cut.
Accompaniments On Your Cheese Board
It is important to garnish your piece of art with natural ingredients. Grapes, apples, parsley, celery, tomatoes and dried berries all are natural and add beautiful colors and flavorings to the board and the perfect contrast and compliments. You might also wish to add olives, onions or lightly roasted nuts in separate dishes. To balance it all out, it is best to add a variety of crackers and bread that aren’t too strong or salty. While you want to keep it simple, that doesn’t mean you cannot treat your guests to something special. Adding slices of tangy sourdough or black pepper biscuits will definitely keep it special.
For beverages, wine, beer, and cocktails are all the popular, classic accompaniments. Put simple, blue cheeses pair well with Sauternes and Port, fresh cheeses pair well with Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc, and aged cheeses with Zinfandel or Burgundy. For more of the extravagant soiree, perhaps offer a different wine for each cheese. Again, tying it back into themes, the best way is to choose a wine from the same region of the cheese.
Tips On Serving
– Serve each cheese with its own knife to avoid mixing flavors.
– Remove wrapping from cheeses, but leave on rinds.
– Serve cheeses at room temperature for optimal flavor. To do this, take cheeses out of the refrigerator up to 2 hours before serving.
After The Dinner Party
With any leftover cheeses, you should discard any leftover soft cheese, but unused hard cheeses can be re-wrapped and replaced in the refrigerator for your next cheese board. If your leftover cheese happens to be too small or too odd in shape for another cheese board, you can simply melt it, shred it or bake it into a delicious cheese recipe.
The debate about chilling red wine has been going on for many years, it is almost impossible to get through spring and summer without someone bringing it up. Even though it may seem like a sin breaking the age old tradition of cold whites and warm reds, drinking chilled red wine can be a great and refreshing way to explore these wines into the summer months. Even though the process is as simple as putting a bottle on ice and calling it a day, there are a few helpful tips that an make drinking chilled red wine even better!
You may be asking- why even chill red wines? For the most simple reason: chilled wines are refreshing, especially in the blazing heat! This is the exact same reason that iced coffee and tea exists, it doesn’t feel right drinking a hot beverage when it is blistering hot outside, just like it isn’t refreshing drinking warm wine in heat. Another good thing to chilling red wines is that it brings out a wine’s acidity and heightens fruity, fresh aromas.
Chilled red wine does truly mean “chilled”, and not cold; there’s actually a difference between a cooler wine and an ice-cold wine. This isn’t just for red wine either, it goes for all wines. When a wine is at fridge temperature, it can actually be too cold, it subdues the aromas and flavors and basically strips a wine of all its character. A good guide to temperature is 50-55 degrees, or for an easier guide, take the wine out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving or put it in the fridge 45 minutes before serving. If you need it ready any sooner, a bucket of ice water for 6-7 minutes will make the wine good to go.
So which wines are best chilled? The best way to determine is the structure of the wine. Light-bodied, low-tannin, acid-driven wines are the best reds to chill. Fruity wines are also great to chill because the colder temperature makes the flavors pop, but the more earthy wines can be interesting when chilled as well. The most commonly chilled red wines are Pinot Noir and Gamay from Beaujolais, but wines like Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, Zweigelt from Austria and Barbera from Piedmont can also be amazingly delicious when chilled.
You may be thinking if you’re a lover of full-bodied wines, are you not allowed to chill your favorite wines? Is it a good idea to fully chill full-bodied reds? Of course, it is! It may be common to chill light reds, but full-bodied wines can also be just as good when chilled. The cold temperature can heighten the structure of the wine, although wines with a high level of tannin can come unpleasant so it is best to look for full-bodied wines with less tannin and more fruit, such as Malbec and Zinfandel. With reds, it is definitely not advisable to drink them straight out of an ice bucket, but more chilled in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving. The light chills will then make the flavor pop without heightening the unpleasant tannins.
The basic thing to remember is that chilled reds are a thing, it just depends on the wine, how chilled you make them.