Saturday, May 24, 2008

Who Moved My Cheese?

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Thank goodness I'm not lactose intolerant. And thank goodness cheese is one of my favorite food groups! Today I hosted 2 tasting sessions focused on soft French cheeses. It was a great way to try a slew of various cheeses without having to buy them all.

In hosting a cheese tasting session, friends came over with a cheese to share... specifically soft French cheeses. As the hostess, I provided a nice variety of accompaniments such as wine, crackers, artisnal bread, cured meats, & fruit for the tasting. To encourage learning about the cheeses and how to taste cheeses, I also provided everyone with a "Cheese Passport" - a small journal of sorts where folks can write notes of each cheese they tried at the event. It even included a lot of basic cheese information about purchasing, storing and serving cheese... even wine pairings!

I started my cheese tastings with a short talk on cheeses and how they are made. In many ways, cheese making is similar to wine making. Just as grapes make wine, it's milk that makes cheese... and similar factors like the terroir, source, aging and storing all provide cheese very unique characteristics. But rather than bore my friends (and you) about cheese science, I had everyone break into small groups to try the various cheeses each person brought. Here are some pictures of the tastings:

My accompaniments for the tasting included:
strawberries, apples, Bosc pears, red & green grapes, honey, kalamata olives, walnuts, dried apricots, dried bing cherries, french baguette slices, 4 types of crackers (whole wheat, vegetable, cracked pepper and water crackers), sopressata salame and a black pepper salame. For wines, we had a variety of whites - Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chadonnay, Pinot Grigio and Viognier...



And here are the various cheeses that came to the party,
although there are still others I didn't get a chance to take a picture of:...







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