Thursday, October 20, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Here's a great idea for a new cheese board side; roasted grapes!
(Original recipe found at :
Makes 4 to 8 servings
1 pound red grapes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh marjoram, thyme, or oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
Aged balsamic or sherry vinegar, for garnish
Sea salt, for garnish
Heat oven to 375°F and arrange rack in the middle.
Combine grapes, oil, and herbs on a rimmed baking sheet and gently toss to combine. (Toss with a few spoonfuls of sugar or honey and skip the herbs and pepper if serving as part of a sundae.)
Roast in oven until just starting to collapse and split, about 15 minutes.
As desired, drizzle with vinegar, a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground black pepper and serve.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Here's an idea that is sure to impress at your next dinner party. How about building a cheese plate for your friends out of all local, award winning cheese handcrafted by you?!
Pure Luck, run by Amelia Sweethardt and her husband Ben Guyton, is a 50 acre dairy and organic farm-- their line of cheeses are produced entirely from the milk of a herd of cute Nubian and Alpine goats wandering about their fields. The Dripping Springs farm is the family's home, and has been since the late 1970s.
The dairy puts out a variety of types, from fresh Chevre (with a range of added herbs and spices) to the complex Sainte Maure, whose refined texture and subtle flavors will make you think immediately of the great goat cheeses of the Loire Valley, where the style originated. Pure Luck also makes goat's milk Feta and a blue cheese, which can be hard to find unless you frequent the farmer's markets of Central Texas.
The family is pleased to teach visitors how to milk the goats by hand, encouraging samples of the fresh, sweet milk, and make their own cheese at their workshops!
All workshop participants will make and take home their own cheeses, including Chevre, Feta, Del Cielo, and Ste. Maure. From milking a goat to wrapping your finished cheese, they cover basic cheesemaking techniques, dairy goat care, and sanitation practices.
Pure Luck's cheese has accumulated numerous accolades, earning awards and attention year after year. In fact, her Hopeless Bleu has taken home American Cheese Society awards five years in a row. No wonder it’s rumored that President Obama noshed on Pure Luck cheeses on his recent visit to Austin.
Once you bring your freshly made cheese home, serve it up on a Texas shaped cheese board! Awesome!
Texan Cheesemakers Make us Proud at American Cheese Society 2011 Competition!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
1) Reclaimed Slate Cheese Board from Uncommon Goods
Slate is great for cheese. The naturally cool material keeps cheese at a perfect temperature. Slate is food safe, eco-friendly and can be written on with chalk! Perfect for labeling cheeses!
2) Cheese Honey from Savannah Bee Company
It might seem strange to have honey specifically for cheese, but it actually does make sense. Cheese honey has a much lighter, milder flavor, allowing the flavors of the cheese to shine through. I can't wait to try this with a nice pungent Gorgonzola!
3) Tasting Party Cheese Knifes
Cheese cutlery comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and it can get a little confusing to know which ones you need. This basic set is perfect for a new cheese connoisseur. The set of 4 knives are dishwasher safe, labeled and very affordable at under $20.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Dolce Vita is a cute little cafe located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin. They offer Italian desserts (including a large selection of gelato), coffee, wine and of course cheese! Dolce vita has a cozy patio and offers fantastic happy hour specials.
The last time I was in Austin, Shavonne and I decided Dolce Vita would be the latest locale for our cheese tasting, wine drinking, conquest!
Overall Score: 20 out of 50
Awesome cheese provided by Antonelli's cheese shop in Austin, TX
St. Nectaire, AOC - Cow, France
Fiore Sarclo - Sheep, Itay
Trugole - Cow, Italy
Presentation: 8 out of 10
The cheese came out on a very nice cutting board with a unique knife. There was also a lot of color contrast on the plate.
Quantity vs Price: 7 out of 10
Overall we got a lot of food for the price ($9). However, there was not nearly enough cheese! The plate was filled with a lot of extras but we really were disappointed with the amount of cheese on the plate.
Extras on the Plate: 0 out of 10
The cheese plate simply did not make sense to us. The berries, though they brought a lot of color to the plate which we loved, were not in season and unfortunately just tasted like water. They did not do anything to to enhance the flavor of the cheese. The spinach, although brought nice color, were wilted! We liked the choice of baguette that was chosen, but it was way too thick and hard. They used canned nuts that tasted like the can and were far too salty. Had they used unsalted nuts or seasoned their own nuts it could have worked.
Uniqueness: 0 out of 10
We didn't see any creativity here. Adding honey to the plate (even though it was it's only saving grace) was very obvious.
Taste: 5 out of 10
We loved the cheeses that came form Antonelli's cheese shop! However, when constructing the plate, did not put together enough of a variety of cheeses to excite your taste buds. The extras that came on the plate, as we already discussed, did absolutely nothing for the cheese. The herb crackers overpowered the mild, delicate brie.
Dolce Vita has a great Happy Hour. Our wine was half off and the selection was pretty large. We enjoyed the wine very much. The atmosphere was very relaxed and comfortable. Great place to go on a date with your friends, work on your laptop, or get a coffee. You can hang out a long time and not spend too much money. The cheese plate, clearly not our favorite, but Dolce Vita overall is a great place to go!
Friday, January 28, 2011
- A cheese plate should be diverse, but you don’t need more than a few options.
- A cheese board should consider factors like the style of cheese, milk source, appearance and flavor profile. There are a million ways you can go about this. One suggestion: I often like when restaurants offer a blue cheese, a hard cheese and a soft cheese. Be sure to please everyone with one of your selections. It’s usually nice to include at least one cheese from each of the three major milk categories: cow, sheep and goat.
- One thing is for sure: you must try the cheese you are going to serve. Any reputable cheese monger will be more than happy to serve you up a taste.
- Use a wooden cutting board or a marble or slate cheese platter. These make a good cutting surface and are pleasing to the eye.
- Allow the cheese to come to room temperature before serving your guests. Cold temperatures mute the flavors of the cheese.
- Keep the board limited to three to five cheeses. Unless you are feeding 50 people, three cheeses is enough to enjoy. More than five and your guests may lose track of what’s what.
- If you don’t have the time to discuss each cheese to each guest, label them. A simple white card with the cheese’s name, milk source and country of origin will do.
- Serve cheese with water crackers, sliced baguette or any type of plain cracker. It allows the flavor of the cheeses to be in the forefront. You don’t want a garlic-and-herb cracker overshadowing your delicate triple crème brie.
- Dried fruit, olives, chutneys, berries, nuts, honey, pears , etc. accompany cheese very well. They work as a palate cleanser between cheeses, and also taste really good with cheese. It’s a win-win.