Say Cheese

December 8, 2019

Holiday gatherings wouldn’t be complete without a bunch of delicious food, including scrumptious appetizers. Cheese boards are an excellent option, as they provide a wide spread of tastes that all guests can enjoy. Best of all, cheese boards require absolutely no cooking, which gives you more time to focus on the rest of the meal.  

What To Put on a Holiday Cheese Board or in a Gift Basket
Just take a swoop past the Co-op Deli Department; there’s an almost endless selection of cheese options to pick from when you’re determining what to arrange on your holiday cheese board. If you want a good mix of cheeses, you can put at least one cheese from each “cheese category” on your board. These categories include aged, soft, firm, and blue. 

tete de moineAged cheeses include aged cheddar and gouda, soft cheeses include goat cheese or French chèvre, firm cheeses like manchego and parmesan, and blue cheeses include gorgonzola and roquefort. 

Of course, more common everyday cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, or havarti are also good choices, especially if some of your guests are not adventurous eaters. 

Try ‘Monk’s Head’ Cheese!
As a bonus option, you also can’t go wrong with Tete de Moine* (actual translation = monk’s head) cheese, as it is one of those delicious unpasteurized, silage-less cheeses that simply melts in your mouth.

Instead of slicing this cheese, you serve it using what’s called a girolle, which curls the cheese into ribbony rosettes. No girolle? You can cut it using a shaving motion with any type of cheese curler so that it will pull in air and still provide a lighter slice. This cheese can easily be put on whatever type of bread or cracker you have, or it’s delicious on its own.  

*Not available in all stores 

DIY Gift basket—or Let Us Handle It!
If you’re looking for a unique gift idea for someone, create a beautiful gift basket with a variety of cheeses—just make sure to keep them refrigerated and only wrap them up on the day you’ll present it. Not that creative, but still want to bring something to snack on for your next get-together? Co-op can put together a cheese platter for you, and you can pick it up on the way to your event. Ask for details in the Deli Department. 

brie jellyAdd Light Fruits
Your cheese board can also contain all kinds of other delights that taste great and make it look pretty and festive. Fruits, such as thin apple slices, grapes, and cherries, can be a nice addition along with nuts like cashews and pistachios. Olives (black or green) and those cute tiny pickles are also a nice touch and give the board some color. 

Jellies and jams such as pepper jelly or fig jam, an antipasto like locally made Zinter Brown Antipasto or Canadian Hellish Relish can be a nice addition for color and taste, as well as other spreads such as chutney or Drizzle Honey

Of course, your cheese board should also have breads or crackers. You can use anything from small breadsticks to multigrain crackers and parmesan cheese crisps. Good options also include crackers that are flaky and mesh well with your cheeses as well as the typical toasted mini-baguettes that add crunch and flavor.  

Take Cheese and Crackers to the Next Level and Serve Cheese Fondue!
If you aren’t fond enough of the basic cheese-and-crackers setup, a traditional cheese fondue is sure to be an unexpected favorite with your guests. 

cheese fondue3Similar to cheese boards, fondue options are endless, but one of the best options is a good Gruyere and/or Emmentaler fondue. Traditional recipes use both of these cheeses and wine, but as with cheese boards, it’s up to you! Dry white wine works, but brandy or cognac are also great options, as is the more traditional Kirsch. If you don’t have Gruyere or Emmental, “basic” Swiss cheeses are a fine substitute.  

Check out our recipe for a deliciously decadent Authentic Cheese Fondue.

You can serve your fondue with any bread of your choice, but a basic French baguette from the Bakery Department is always a fine option.  

Possibly the best part of a cheese plate, charcuterie board, or fondue, is that the options are endless. You are free to choose whatever items you desire, and your guests will all be able to find something they like. Once you pick what you want to serve, cheese boards and fondues require very little preparation time so everyone can quickly dig in for the holidays.

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