Be Cheesy. Serve a legen-dairy tray at you’re next party.

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Sometimes informal parties, get together, or gatherings hot wings and chips are great. If however you want to add a classy touch to your next party, get cheesy. Wine tasting? Beer pairing? I’m here to help your soiree step to the next level with some cheese basics.  For more info on cheese and its preparation, check out the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Boards site http://www.wisconsincheesefoodservice.com

Cheese is made mostly from cow milk however there is Cow, Sheep, Goat, Camel, Buffalo,  and countless cheeses from different breeds of each. Cheese is classified in to different categories. Blue, Hard, Pasta Filata, processed, Semi-Hard, Semi-Soft, Soft and fresh, and soft ripened.  When choosing what cheese to pair with what beverage or food, you need to do some homework. Do you want sweet, light, creamy? Do you want Bold? You can talk for days on cheese pairings and some people spend their whole lives mastering this art.

How to taste cheese:Just eat it right? Wrong. When choosing your cheese and sampling, here is how the cheesemasters savor cheese.  Always allow cheese to reach room temperature to allow the flavors to fully develop for the palate. Preparing however, is best done when the cheese is cold such as slicing or cubing.  Take a bite size piece and rub it between your thumb and forefinger and rub it together, feel the texture. Is it creamy, does it crumble, these are cues on what the mouthfeel will be like. Once you try it chew it a bit, smear the cheese against the top of your mouth and feel the texture again, now here’s the important part. Inhale through your mouth, and exhale through your nose. This is how you truly “taste” cheese. Notice the aromas, is it tangy, buttery, nutty, are there fruit notes? What tastes or aromas linger after the cheese is gone? These are some clues as to what to pair with. For a stout beer for example, you would want a sweeter nuttier cheese to counter the bitterness of the stout. For a Chardonnay you may want a aged cheddar’s tangy bold flavor to offset the chardonnay’s somewhat sweet flavor.

Cheese has been around for ages and ages. Doing some simple homework, and with a little creativity, you too can have beautiful arrangements of dairy products for a light food that can be consumed and not get in the way of conversation with messy loud foods. For more information check out Wisconsin Milk Marketing Boards website and cheese guides! Bon Appetit!

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