We are a family of cheese lovers, so I couldn’t resist buying this book. Luckily I was able to get it cheaply at one of our regular Lifeline Book Fairs. Not surprisingly, the book starts with an explanation on types of cheese, then there are chapters covering the cheese course, starters, soups and salads, main dishes, sides and desserts. It finishes with a glossary of cheeses and cheese terms, and a list of American artisanal cheeses (the book was first published in the USA).
It will take me ages to work through all the treats in the book, but I’m delighted to start off with what is described as a beer-friendly cheese plate.
Stilton, walnuts and dried fruit cheese plate
6–8 oz (185–250 g) aged Gouda such as Saenkanter or UnieKaas
6–8 oz (185–250 g) aged goat’s milk cheese such as Crottin de Chavignol
6–8 oz (185–250 g) mild blue-veined cheese such as Stilton
1 cup (6 oz/185 g) dates
dried fruits such as persimmons, apricots and pears
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) walnuts
About 2 hours before serving, remove the cheeses from the refrigerator, unwrap them, and allow them to come to room temperature.
When ready to serve, arrange the cheeses, dates, dried fruit and nuts on a cutting board, marble slab or platter. Include paring knives for the blue and the Crottin and a sharp paring knife or cheese slice for the Gouda. Serve with baguette rounds, thin slices of dark bread or crackers, if desired. Serves 4–6.
How it played out
Except for the Stilton, I couldn’t find the suggested cheeses, so I bought the nicest Gouda and goat’s milk cheeses I could find. I added in a wedge of brie too. I assembled the cheeses, nuts and dried fruits on a teak wood board I bought years ago in Burma (now Myanmar). Served with water crackers.
I made this to share with guests. It was a great spread of cheeses. Perfect for enjoying with a glass of beer or even wine if that’s your preference. Total success!
Speaking of cheese, check out the unusual strings of cheese we saw at a market in Bhutan.