February 24, 2009

Just when you think cheese can't get any greater...

As a fan of all things related to desserts, my appreciation for cheese is great. However, I now feel like an amateur after learning of the American Cheese Society - how could I not know this existed?

The American Cheese Society was founded in 1983 by Dr. Frank Kosikowski of Cornell University as a national grassroots organization for cheese appreciation and for home and farm cheesemaking. Amen.

For those interested, the ACS annual conference is being held this August in Austin, Texas - anybody interested in attending? This might be one of those random events I have to sign up for. Once in a lifetime experience, anyone?

Lastly, keeping with the theme of this blog, here are some tips for anyone looking to add a final cheese course to their already delicious meal:

- Dessert cheeses may be served after the main course, with the same wine that has accompanied that course

- Cheese may also be served following the sweet or with a suitable dessert fruit such as apples, pears, grapes, cherries, plums or melons.

- Cheeses should always be served at a temperature of about 70 degrees. Some types which are best when coulant, should be removed from refrigeration 3 to 6 hours before serving.

- Usually some pats of sweet butter are added to the cheese-board.

- Toast, crackers, pumpernickel, crusty french bread or sour rye follows the cheese on a separate tray.

- Salted, toasted or freshly shelled nuts, roasted chestnuts, celery or fennel make pleasant accessories.

- Try mixing mild cheeses with the more highly ripened aromatic or smoked ones.

- Above all, remember that cheeses have their own seasons. Choose varieties that are in season.

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