Monday, March 17, 2014

say cheese!

I've taken on a new endeavor, which is to study one of my longtime favorite foods. My mom was in town this weekend, and she packed along a book called Joie De Vivre by Robert Arbor where he talks about the little daily traditions of the French, like making good french press coffee in the morning, buying from the local bakery and butcher, and growing a small vegetable garden. 
My mom and I have always been smitten by French culture and Paris, so we pass books like this back and forth and chat about how we can adopt the French mentality to slow down and enjoy the little things. This visit, we decided to make good pressed coffee at home, boycott fast food and stop eating in the car, and not feel guilty about enjoying a chunk of good baguette when magazines are hollering that carbs are deadly. 
The author talked a little about cheese, how there are eight hundred local cheeses in France and that they often serve a cheese and salad course after the main course and before dessert. Of course that got the wheels turning, which led to a one-click amazon purchase with my birthday money on a beautiful book called the World of Cheese.
The next day we ventured out to The Fresh Market, where I spent the remainder of my birthday money on building my first cheese platter. I picked five cheeses, along with dried apricots, good baguette and crackers, and a selection of olives. We came home, assembled our platter, and went around tasting each new cheese slowly while sipping on wine and chatting in front of the fire. It was the perfect afternoon. Our favorite vehicle was the thinly sliced baguette. For the platter, I chose the following cheeses: 

1  Henri Hutin Belletoile triple cream (France) *pure heaven for the Brie lover
2  Port Salut (France) *we LOVED this one, a new favorite! 
3  Tallegio (Italy)
4  Dubliner - a house favorite, in honor of St Patty's Day (Ireland)
5  Yorkshire Wensleydale with Cranberries (England) *a sweeter dessert cheese

I think a cheese platter is the perfect easy appetizer, and if you have a little knowledge about the cheese you are serving it's a fun conversation topic to have with your friends. Here's to trying new cheese! On my next platter, I will try a blue cheese and a goat cheese. What are your favorites? 

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