My Cheese Extravaganza   Leave a comment

Inspired by Steve's Cheese and Ten01's Cheese Spectacular, I've decided to make my own cheese party version at my home this coming weekend. Mine will not have 100 cheeses. But, I still want that same casual atmosphere of going up to stations of cheese to try a taste and mingling cocktail style, but without the complication of fancy hors d'oeuvres or dinner or managing a bar. I asked everyone to bring a favorite cheese/beverage pairing, or a dish with a cheese ingredient. So for the most part I'm not sure what I'm going to get, though I am guessing most are going to lean towards the cheese and wine route.

I've been trying to brainstorm how to make sure everyone enjoys cheese as much as I do at this get-together, at least the part I can contribute/control. I think it's about both sharing with each other our favorite cheeses as well as throwing in something new to try, and balancing that with interesting assortments of beer and wine and other accompaniments. And, to me, a delicious time is to tickle all those tastebuds: sweet, savory, salty, spicy, sour and bitter.

Obviously the cheese is offering the savory. I have decided on three cheeses to offer.

I am guessing that everyone will end up eating 4-6 oz overall of cheese, divided
among all the cheese options available.I think if I bring three cheeses, there's a likelihood that there will end up being eight cheeses at least, which is quite an assortment. 

So, first the familiar. I have planned

  • Willamette
    Valley Farmstead Brindisi, a hard cow cheese aged 12 months, with
    Bridgeport IPA and/or red like the Gouger Celler red grape blend 903.
    • Pecorino E Tartufo Rusti, a sheep's cheese with truffles from Italy,
      paired with beverages. Either with a home-beer kit brewed malty porter
      and/or a berry leather
      red like Cain Five that I've had for almost a decade and is really
      needing to be shared with other wine appreciators. I think many won't
      have had tried this kind of cheese before, though I love trying
      experimental cheeses rubbed or aged in whatever anyone wants to try.

    So something new. We want to offer

    • a soft cheese
      like chevre drizzled with liquidy pinot jam on toast point or cracker. We're planning on having this paired
      with Blue Moon's honeymoon summer ale and/or a sweet light white like a Vinho Verde (an almost sparkling summer when it's sooo hot white). We are going to attempt to make our own goat
      cheese chevre, and when we check on it that morning we'll know whether
      to go get a substitution from the farmer's market…

    We have other white and red wine, various beer, Coke and Sprite, lemonade,
    pitcher of mixed juice beverage, and water. The lemonade is going to be made quite sour, while the fruity beverage will be sweet.

We will provide

  • hye roller sandwiches
    (Turkey Breast, Ham, chicken salad, veggie or tuna salad, with cream
    cheese spread, green leaf lettuce and cherry tomatoes). Yeah, I'm just getting this at Safeway. I wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted something in their stomach so they can drive home could have something a little more filling.

  • parmesan romano rice with peas.This is one of my dirty little secret things I like to eat that I discovered when I first was living on my own after college. It totally starts with the natural parmesan romano rice a roni. Yes, rice a roni. It didn't used to have a "natural" version, but this changed a couple years ago I think, and really it's a mix of pretty straightforward ingredients then dried: parboiled long grain rice, parmesan and romano cheese, whey, cultured nonfat milk, sunflower oil, salt and other seasonings. The key though is to us this as a base and then mix in a little extra, like lightly sauteed in butter organic local peas, and a drizzle of truffle oil and sprinkle of dill. I also like shrimp or mushrooms, but based on who may be coming I may leave that out based on their dislike of those ingredients

  • Brazilian cheese mini-rolls: essentially, pao de queijo

  • Bread and crackers
Moving from the more substantial savory offerings to the sweet, I have

  • lemon honey hazelnuts
  • orange honey hazelnuts
  • sliced apples and pears

Salt-wise, there are

  • shelled walnut halves
  • jalapeno bacon almonds (which also adds to the table one of the flavors I like, some hot spice)

For sour, I am going with

  • bacon pickle slices. It is vegetarian (flavored with hickory smoke) by Unbound Pickling
  • pickled beets in a pomegranate and chai sprice brine by Unbound Pickling, though these have some sweetness because of the pomegranate
  • little gherkins
And, finally bitter. I thought about a nice arugula salad, my standard go to for bitter (that or a beer but those drinking wine might not want to mix beer). But I think a helping of salad to balance with the sandwiches and cheese makes it too much of a meal that detracts from the cheese, even if I add some shavings of grana padano. And, I only have little canape plates for the number of guests coming. So instead, I am going to cut some bittersweet chocolate in little pieces as "dessert", and if some are interested I can open a port. I also have some balsamic vinegar (one Italian heirloom that is barrel aged, one honey vinegar) that is nice drizzled as an optional enhancement to bread or cheese.



Posted August 14, 2010 by pechluck in Uncategorized

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