Cheese tasting is hip, fun and delicious…the perfect way to spend a memorable evening with friends. Tempted to host your own, but don’t know where to begin? With 100 or more selections at well-stocked cheese counters, it can be hard to choose.Remember the mantra: “It’s Just Cheese!” Don’t stress over your selections, spend more time savoring!
Before you get overwhelmed, just remember the mantra: “It’s Just Cheese!” Meaning, don’t stress. Worrying about whether your selection is perfectly ripe, if it will pair properly with that snazzy new bottle of wine or whether or not you should seek out a store that doesn’t wrap in plastic will simply drain your energy — energy that could be better spent enjoying cheese!
If you have a good local cheesemonger, they can help point you in the right direction. Otherwise, here are some tips that will help you make your tasting a smashing success:
Choose 3 – 5 cheeses from several different styles at least two different milk types. This will provide a nice contrast of flavors and textures. A tasting might include a rich and creamy brie style, a goat cheese, a nicely aged cheddar, extra aged Gouda and a blue cheese, for instance.
If you are sure you and your guests like a particular style of cheese, consider a vertical tasting, sampling several different versions of one style of cheese – blue or surface ripened, for instance. Tasting them side by side can be very enlightening.
How Much to Buy?
Plan on about 5 ounces total of cheese per guest. Multiply ounces of cheese by your number of guests and divide by number of cheeses served.
For instance, a tasting of 5 cheeses for 6 people calls for about 30 oz. of cheese, 6 ounces of each type. Along with bread or crackers, fruit and other accompaniments like nuts, charcuterie and condiments, this will provide a substantial meal.
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