It's not hard to understand why they excel in this area - Whole Foods Market has 147 Certified Cheese Professionals™ in stores throughout the country, who have mastered the art of cheese - from making to aging to handling it. There is always someone on hand to share their wisdom, including suggested accompaniments to complement your selection.
On the first of what I understand will be a series of cheese themed events, Jacksonville based experts Stephanie and Alice shared tips for assembling and presenting the perfect cheese board for holiday gatherings.
Some of the crowd favorites:
Melkbus Truffle Gouda
· Raw cow’s milk gouda from a single-source herd featuring pronounced aromatics. Deep, rich flavors of Italian truffles and cream. - Goes with dry sparkling wine, pancetta, rustic breads.
Mitica Pecorino Toscano Stagionato
· Hints of nuts and butterscotch in this densely textured Italian cheese. Sweet sheep’s milk creaminess. - Goes with Chianti, fig spread, Marcona almonds, crisp pears.
Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue
· Blue cheese smoked over hazelnut shells. Savory caramel, array of sweet earthy complexity from raw cow’s milk. - Goes with zinfandel, bourbon, walnuts, grapes.
Appleby Family Appleby’s Cheshire
· Hand-selected raw milk cheese. Cows graze on mineral-rich grasses, creating savory, clean, tangy flavors. - Goes with pale ales, soft red wines, dried apricots, fresh apples, chutney.
Vermont Creamery Bonne Bouche Ash-Ripened Goat Cheese
· Soft-ripened goat cheese, hand ladled, aged more than a month. Appealing notes of fresh earth and subtle hazelnut. - Goes with sauvignon blanc, apples, pears, walnuts, artisan honey.
More wisdom from the Whole Foods Market pros:
How to Create a Cheese Plate
- Pick cheeses of contrasting textures and flavors: creamy, firm, sweet, pungent.
- Contrast Old World cheeses with New World selections.
- On a budget? Buy one or two fantastic cheeses, rather than five or six so-so options.
- Two ounces of cheese per person is a good rule of thumb.
- Let sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before serving for optimal flavor.
- Serve with bread and crackers for different textures and flavors to accent the cheese.
- Talk to your cheesemonger. They can offer suggestions on which cheeses pair well with others.
Giveaway - We've Saved the Best For LastIt's our last giveaway for 2013! Whole Foods Market, who sponsored my visit to their Cheese Night event, want to share the love - so thanks to them, one lucky reader will start 2014 off with a $75 Whole Foods Market Gift Card - good at any WFM in the USA. That's a lotta cheddar!
To enter the drawing, please leave a comment on this post answering the question "What's your "must have" item on a cheese board?" Mine is Marcona Almonds. MAD about them. Use the RaffleCopter widget to record your entries - including extras for likes and sharing on Twitter!