Tonight’s Cheesetique course was on holiday entertaining. The lecture portion focused on tips for creating the perfect party cheese platter. Some useful tips:

  • For appetizer or after dinner, serve 3-4 ounces per person; for the main course, 5-6 ounces per person.
  • Variety is good, but include one cheese everyone will love and one more adventerous sweet or salty cheese.
  • Always let the cheeses sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving, and provide a knife for each cheese to avoid mixing flavors.

We then tasted the ten cheeses pictured, a range of sweet and savory festive cheeses. I tend to like my cheese to taste like cheese, so some of these were trying too hard for my liking. But, the goal was to present crowd-pleasing options, and most of these were inoffensive and would appeal to cheese newbies. My favorites:

  • Saint Julien with Walnut (cow, France) – looks like layer cake, luscious and creamy, sweet with a walnut layer. Great for people who aren’t into stinky cheese, this is incredibly mild.
  • La Leyenda Brandy Cheese (raw sheep, Spain) – A manchego-style aged cheese wrapped in herbs and soaked in Solera Brandy. Grassy and flavorful.
  • Boschetto al Tartufo (sheep & cow, Italy) – Flavored with white truffle shavings, this is Incredibly earthy, creamy, delicate and fragrant.

The bottom right cheese was a Royal Windsor from England. The pink layers are the Elderberry Wine Cheese (okay on its own), and the center is a pungent Blue Stilton. An interesting combination, but the stilton really overpowers the elderberry.