T minus 3 days until my “Girls Night In” party. Today, I’m working on the menu and making my grocery list. I want to put together a cheese plate and decided to do a little research. I typically just buy Brie because that seems to be a crowd pleaser. But for this party I want to put together a cheese plate to go along with the other appetizers. When entertaining, its a good idea to have five kinds of cheese. I put together descriptions of different types of cheeses to help narrow down a selection.
fresh- mild, slightly tart cheeses are uncooked and unripened and range in texture from thick to creamy. Examples: Soft Mozzarella, Ricotta, Mascarpone.
soft-ripened- Rich creamy cheeses that have a mold applied to the surface which causes them to ripen from the outside in. Examples: Brie, Camembert
washed rind- during the ripening process the cheese is brushed or rubbed with salt water, wine, beer or brandy which creates a moldy exterior and creates the “stinky” cheese. Giving the cheese a pungent flavor and taste. Examples: Munster, Liverot
semi-hard- mild cheeses made from uncooked curds, milk solids. They are great for snacking and cooking. Examples: Havarti, Mozzarella, Provolone, Gouda, Morbier, Saint Nectaire
hard- these hard tangy cheeses are heated until they solidify then are pressed with weights into a firm consistency. They grow more pungent and crumble with age. Examples: Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Machego
blue-veined- these cheeses are sprayed or injected with mold spores and aged in cellars. The blue-green veins marble the interiors of these intense flavored cheeses. Examples: Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton
I suggest checking out your local gourmet cheese shop for samples and guidance on what to choose for your cheese plate. Here are a few of my favorite gourmet cheese shops in my community:
Vivant Fine Cheeses~ 840 11th Street, Paso Robles, CA
Di Raimondos Italian Market~ 822 13th Street, Paso Robles CA