If you’re perfectly satisfied with spraying Cheese Whiz on a Ritz, you may stop reading right here and move on to the next story.
However, if you’re looking to expand your cheese horizons, read on. The tips that follow will help you do just that.
When one takes into account the style of artisan cheesemakers, there are literally thousands of cheeses from which to choose. A good cheese shop, or a well-stocked cheese section in a gourmet shop, may offer several dozen or even a few hundred. So, even a little bit of knowledge can help you navigate what can be some pretty confusing waters.
Here are a few ideas to help you keep on course…
1. Introduce yourself to your local cheese purveyor. A good fromager or cheese seller gets to know his clientele and their preferences. For instance, some people simply don’t like “stinky” cheese, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t numerous types they’d love. A good cheese seller will help you narrow the field — hard vs. fresh, assertive vs. subtle, etc. — in a way that ultimately will please your palate.
2. Build off your knowledge. It’s human nature to stick with things that we like, but that also limits our experiences. Tell a cheese seller what you normally enjoy, and ask for something similar — or choose one yourself. Most cheese counters are organized by style.
3. If you’re planning to serve a cheese plate, mix it up. The combinations are limitless, but you may want to consider a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese, a hard Spanish goat’s milk cheese and a fresh French goat’s milk cheese as a starting point.
4. Buy fresh. A cheese’s aroma can take over a refrigerator so, if possible, shop on the day you plan to dine.