Cheeses come in a wide variety of flavors, textures, and types. Gone are the days of un-wrapping a slice of American cheese placing it on white bread and calling it a meal. Today’s specialty markets make it easy to serve gourmet cheeses as an appetizer, desert, or as a simple course in a larger meal.
When serving cheese never serve more than 5 varieties at a time. Vary the size, shape, flavor and texture of the choices to add interest to the selection. The tray you serve on should be a wooden board or marble slab. A silver tray with a wood insert can add elegance and glamour for a special touch. The tray should never be crowded, and any bread or fancy crackers should be served separately. Separate utensils and trays should be used if the cheeses have strong or distinctive flavors. Mild varieties will pick up the flavors and aromas of stronger cheese.
Coupling the cheese with fresh fruit or thin sliced onions gives added interest and texture and makes for an appetizing arrangement. Always remember to slice all the accompaniments in bite size pieces.
Cheeses can be served as a very elegant desert a light course after the entrée or as an appetizer. When using cheese as an appetizer, choose a light meal because cheese can be filling.
The temperature of your cheese will make a difference in how it taste. When served at room temperature cheese displays more of its natural flavors and characteristics. By leaving the cheese out for 30 minutes before serving the cheese will reach its optimum temperature. Just remember during warm months to keep watch so that the cheese does not get too warm and begin to sweat.
Shauna Hanus is a gourmet cook who specializes in creating gourmet meal plans. She has extensive experience cooking with easy to find grocery items to create delightful gourmet meals. She is also the publisher of a no cost bi-monthly gourmet newsletter. Her newsletter is always fun and informational packed with tips and trivia you can use everyday. http://www.gourmayeats.com