budget friendly cheese

At Home Fine Dining on a Budget and Some Cheese Education

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

As the weather gets cooler, the idea of staying indoors becomes more and more appealing to me. It's actually quite simple to bring the elegance of eating out into your home. A quick, fairly inexpensive and simple way to do this is by having a wine and cheese spread at home. Maximize your budget by shopping for trendier boxed wines, budget chardonnays and Ros├ęs at your local grocer.

Add hard salamis, fruits and breads to  your spread for a hearty and quick meal. I'll be the first to admit, I love cheese and try to experiment with different kinds when I can. Cheese making is a really interesting art! Check out the youtube video below!

Check out Wholefoods for the gamut of artisanal cheeses. Cheeses of Europe sent out some great samples for us to try. These are high quality French Cheeses you can find at your local Whole Foods. We tried out the Camembert Au Calvados which has a unique taste as there is apple brandy mixed in with the curd. The Camembert was soft and creamy and has a bit of stronger smell and taste. This was a good cheese paired with fruit like apples. We also tried out a Comte cheese which is considered the king of French Cheeses and is made from unpasteurized cows milk. It has a semi hard texture, the rind was a dusty brown color and the inside was a pale creamy yellow. Of the 3 types tried, this was my favorite. I liked pairing this cheese with a hard salami and grapes on the side. The final cheese we tried was a Brie. The Brie is similar in terms of texture as it is a soft cheese. Brie is cut from a bigger round, so the sides are usually not covered by a rind, which is a good way to tell the difference between it and a Camembert. Brie doesn't have as pungent an aroma as the Camembert and is not as sour or chalky.

A great way to put together a spread at home is to try and include a variety of textures and flavors. Most cheese belongs to one of four basic categories: aged, soft, firm or blue. Offer up a selection of breads like sliced baguettes, bread sticks or crackers and add things like sweet preserves, spicy mustards and the like to add to the variety. Also, adding sweet and salty really adds to the overall spread. Include cured meats like salami, candied nuts and of course fruits like apples, pears, cherries and grapes. Super simple and quick! My kind of meal.

When you serve, you can add some style by setting out beautiful knives, organizing your cheeses on wood blocks or the table cloth and labeling your cheese. You can check out Cheeses of Europe to find a local store near you that caries their products!  

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