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Say Cheese...and Wine
Cheese is great for sharing and ideal for relaxed entertaining. Next time instead of serving a full-blown meal, why not invite friends round for a carefully selected cheeseboard? Most cheeses are excellent to serve as they come. Some specialty bread or crackers and a glass of wine on the side will be enough to make them unforgettable.
How to prepare a cheeseboard
Most cheeses should be served on a wooden board, never on metal, glass or china surfaces where the knife would make screeching sound. Every kind of cheese should have its own knife or cutting tool to preserve its flavor and not mix it with that of the other varieties. Cheese knifes with curved edges to hold the cut portion are convenient for hard or semi-hard cheeses. Present semi-soft cheese the same way, or finely sliced.
Cutting rectangular cheese portions will make easier to pack leftovers. It is more difficult to wrap round cheese pieces or those with an irregular shape. Cut round or wheel shaped cheeses carefully, minimizing cut surface.
Most people eat cheese au naturel only with bread, crackers and butter, however, a few prefer cheese on its own and would use knife and fork.
A party cheeseboard
One can go for a theme and prepare a board with different styles from one country or one region. Many cheeses change in taste depending on the season, so there is room to present the same cheeses to the same guests and still enjoy a very different experience.
Offer bread, butter, biscuits or crackers on a tray apart. Bread and butter sprinkled with little cheese crumbs do not contribute to the festive mood.
A cheese party off the board
A grilled cheese on toast will not tax anyone in the kitchen and provides an opportunity to show one's gourmet side. Try baked Camembert, still warm from the oven, with crusty bread and celery sticks, or your favorite blue cheese grilled on foccacia bread with fresh fig slices.
Serve a selection of cheese and specialty breads slices accompanied by an assortment of chutneys and relishes -remember the little serving spoons. Simple Cheddar shines in a new light on rye bread with a spoonful of mango and apple chutney on top.
Wine and cheese
• Hard cheese will match with wonderfully aromatic wines.
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