Did anyone else notice that Pinterest exploded with Thanksgiving and Fall? I love Thanksgiving (even more than Christmas), but I’m still very much in summer-mode. Sorry, Pinterest, consider yourself boycotted until at least September.
Last night, Andrew and I attended a class at our new local cheese shop, Wheel House, which I’ve now mentioned several times. It’s only been open 8 weeks, but we’re already regulars. The topic of the class was “Creating the perfect cheese board”.
Before taking the class, I would have told you that designing a cheese board is very simple: you put some cheese on that board. But now, NOW, that I am an experienced cheese connoisseur (“aged” if you will), I would tell you that there is a lot more that goes into it.
When designing a cheese board, it’s helpful to consider the following things:
Number of different cheeses – There’s nothing wrong with featuring just one excellent cheese and providing a bunch of other fun ‘tastes’ on the board. Typically, though, about 3 cheeses is a good number, and any more than 5 will just confuse your palate.
Number of people – About 4 oz of cheese per person is ideal. A bit less if you’re also planning to eat dinner.
Climate/location – For example, if you’re planning a cheese plate to take to the beach on a hot day, you’ll want to choose a harder cheese that won’t turn into a puddle.
Theme – Consider coming up with a theme that ties all the cheeses together. Examples would be cheeses all from the same region (like Italy or California), a variety of all one type of cheese (like blue cheeses from around the world), etc.
We also learned a lot about how to properly slice cheese, how to tell when a cheese is “ready”, and what type of accompaniments work well with each type of cheese. For the record, quince paste goes really well with Manchego cheese. One takeaways that really stuck with me was that there really are no rules. Some of the best cheese pairings come from unexpected combinations, like cheese and chocolate! Basically, don’t be afraid to put some wacky flavors on your board.
After discussing over some drinks and snacks we broke into teams of 4 to build our own cheese boards. Andrew and I met a really nice couple who lives just down the street from us. We formed a team and put together an epic cheese board.
After all four teams were done, we took turns presenting to the rest of the group. Well, three teams presented to the group. The fourth team ate their entire board before it was time to present. It happens.
On our board, we had Monte Enebro (goats’ milk), Manchego (sheep milk), and Moses Sleeper (cows’ milk). The non-cheese ‘tastes’ on our board were green olives, fig jam, quince paste, shaved chocolate, fennel pollen, and finishing salt.
We went into the event with completely open minds; we had no idea what to expect, but we had so much fun. Any day that dinner consists entirely of wine and cheese is a good day by my standards.
Speaking of wine and cheese for dinner….
Tonight, we’re biking to the Santa Monica Pier for a free concert and picnic* on the beach. *I think this will make three days in a row that I’ve had wine and cheese for dinner. Is that bad?
For all of the times I complain about Los Angeles, things like classes at our local cheese shop and free beach concerts kinda put things back into perspective. We’re pretty lucky to both be employed and able to support ourselves in this (ridiculously expensive, crazy) city… At least for now. 🙂