September 4, 2010

Cheese Trays

I love cheese. Give me a brick of cheese, a breadstick and some wine, and I'm in for the night. So I was excited to host a wine and cheese (and jewellery!) party recently for some of my girlfriends where I was able to share some of my favourite cheeses.

Putting together a cheese tray is simple and classy. All you need are some great cheeses, a variety of breads such as these baked pitas, and some sides such as dried meats, olives and grapes. I like to use wooden boards for cheese trays and keep them rustic looking. A simple addition is to put a flag in each cheese to indicate what it is -- this will stop a lot of questions from your guests and can let you focus on filling up their wine glasses!

Here's a rundown of my four favourite cheeses. Feel free to leave a comment about your favourite -- I'm always looking to try new ones.

St. Andres

This is a triple cream and, true to its name, it's decadent. This one is best when it's been sitting out for a little bit and come back to it's true creamy form. You'll want to serve this with delicious but simple crackers because you really want to enjoy its creamy flavour.

Applewood Smoked Cheddar

I love a smokey flavour and this one in particular makes my knees buckle. It's like a traditional cheddar but with this amazing smokey flavour. This is great as part of an antipesto plate with meats like proscuitto and salami (old forest is awesome) and some olives. 

Ossai Irati

I had never tried this one but when I went to the cheese shop, the cheese-guy recommended it. (I really like how he asked what else we were eating and what we were drinking to make a good selection. It's a sheep's milk cheese and it's mild with this tangy afterbite. It also looks neat on a platter because it has an interesting hard, grey rind.


This is a staple in our house and is accessible at most grocery stores now. It's a goat's cheese and comes in three different flavours -- shallot and chive (which is the one I had at the party), fine herbs and peppercorn. Fine herbs is still my favourite. It also comes in a light version -- but don't do it. It's a completely different cheese and more like a cream cheese. The regular is soft and crumbly and melts in your mouth. 

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