Top 10 facts from the Cheese Wiz…
- Cheese tastes best at room temperature. Allow cheese to sit outside refrigerator in its wrapper for an hour.
- You can't judge a cheese by its smell, some smellies are bland & some blandies are flavorful.
- Raw milk cheeses that are aged more than 60 days are legal in the USA. Let's keep it that way.
- Artisinal cheese is expensive because it's handmade in limited batches. You get what you pay for.
- Cut pieces so that everyone gets a bit of the rind, as the flavor varies from interior to exterior.
- Mold is natural, just scrape it away. Yes, mom was right.
- Drinking plain water with cheese invites indigestion. Think of butter & water together.
- Hardest wines to pair are Cabernets & Chardonnays. Easiest wines to pair are Pinot Noirs & Rieslings.
- Store cheese wrapped in wax paper in humid fridge drawer to let it breathe & never freeze.
- Hard cheeses last for months, soft cheeses last for weeks. Let you nose help you decide.
- Best cheeses come from animals that graze on organic grasses, flowers, plants
- Best cheese accompaniments are fruit, olives & nuts
- Best appetizer cheeses are fresh chevres
- Best dessert cheeses are washed rinds & blues
- Best way to eat a flight of cheese is on order of strength, from mild to wild
- Best cheese course is 3-5 types, with various milks & textures
- Best way to taste hard, sharp cheeses is with the tip of the tongue
- Best way to taste softer & blue cheese is pressed to the roof of the mouth
How much to buy…
- Typical serving = 3 ounces per person (6 guests x 3 ounces = 18 ounces / 16 ounces per lb = 1.125 lbs)
- 1 ounce ungrated cheese = 1/4 cup grated cheese
- 2 ounces ungrated cheese = 1/2 cup grated cheese
- 4 ounces (1/4 lb) ungrated cheese = 1 cup grated cheese
- 8 ounces (1/2 lb) ungrated cheese = 2 cups grated cheese
- 16 ounces (1 lb) ungrated cheese = 4 cups grated cheese
Types of cheese & suggested wine pairings…
- Fresh - uncooked, unripened curds which are usually mild & moist (ricotta, chevre) - try sweet wines, dry wines, roses
- Bloomy Rind - surface is exposed to molds that make them ripen inward & become creamy (brie, camembert) - try medium reds, ciders
- Washed Rind - washed with brine or liquid to promote sticky rind with “stinky” quality (epoisses, munster) - try dry white wines & full-bodied reds
- Natural Rind - self-made rind with an appearance of mottled rock (stilton, ossau-iraty) - try fruity red
- Uncooked/Pressed - curds are not cooked, and whey is removed by pressing (saint nectaire, tomme de savoie) - try medium reds
- Cooked/Pressed - curds are cooked until solidified, then pressed (parmigiano, gruyere) - try fruity whites, full-bodied reds
- Semi-Hard/Hard - cooked and pressed, with our without rinds, then aged usually 1-2 years (cheddar, gouda) - try spicy & racy reds
- Blue - infused with penicillin mold spores, then aged in caves or cellars (gorgonzola, roquefort) - try sweet wines, port
- Organic raw, unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk products are extremely healthy - science is not better than nature. Raw milk that comes from animals that are organically raised, free-roaming, grass-fed and not given antibiotics or growth hormone injections is very different from milk coming from a genetically modified animal that has been given injections, never allowed to roam, is fed chemically laced growth-enhancing feed, then pasteurized or homogenized. Which sounds healthier?
- Healthy elements of all cheeses include calcium, protein & fatty acids. In fact, cheese has a higher concentration of these nutrients than milk, with little or no lactose remaining.
- Cheeses are traditionally made with animal rennet, however vegetarian rennet cheeses are available.
- Goat cheeses are almost always an alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.
- Sheep cheeses have more calcium & protein, and less cholesterol than cow cheeses.
- Average fat content of cheese is 45%.
- Remember: one piece of quality cheese is infinitely more satisfying than more of the cheap stuff.