Every year on Christmas Eve night my family gathers at my sisters house for a meal where the main feature is cheese. Cured meats, olives, and other accoutrements fill the table but the cheese is the stand out. Since my many years of handling cheese our holiday cheese plate has become more extravagant as far as flavors go. Even my niece's and nephew's palates seem to have developed past the once acceptable St. Andre and towards the Kunik, a more interesting goat's milk based triple creme.
It's less than one week to Xmas and I have already started thinking about this years cheese plate. I tend to lean towards what I find eye catching and my problem this year is that everything looks so damn good.
Should I bring some Canestrato, an Italian raw sheep milk with a complex flavor that builds as you chew it, for a hard cheese or some amazing 3 year Comte (see previous post). My brother in law loves soft stinky cheeses so maybe a Rush Creek Reserve, which have been outstanding this year, will satisfy his stinky cheese craving. My sister loves soft and buttery cheeses but do I dare do something as pedestrian as Brie. Why not? The Brie we have at Artisanal Bistro is far from what can be bought at a grocery store and has pleasant mushroom notes that make you want to scrape every last bit off the cheese board. Too many decisions.
So here are the cheeses I will be schlepping on a New Jersey Transit train to my sisters lovely home.
3 Year Comte (raw cow, France)
- Possibly my favorite cheese in life
Canestrato (raw sheep, Italy)
- I know it was between this and the 3 year Comte but they are both so good. It was like Sophie's Choice only no children were involved and I had the luxury of being able to choose both. I guess it's nothing like Sophie's Choice.
Gratte Paille (cow, France)
- They have looked so perfect lately and should provide something buttery for my sister. She used to sneak into the fridge and eat sticks of butter when we were little.
Rush Creek Reserve (raw cow, WI)
- They just ooze yumminess and are seasonal so how can I say no.
Clochette (goat, France)
- Bell shaped goats milk cheese may come off as a bit of a novelty but they came in so perfect so I just have to have one.
Cremificato Capra Verde (goat, Italy)
- Amazing blue to round things off. So creamy and tangy.
Come by Artisanal Bistro and make your own holiday cheese plate or feel free to copy mine.