– Three Valentine’s Day cheeses worth gifting –
Most folks don’t think of cheese when it comes to Valentine’s Day surprises, but I can’t think of a more delicious gift for your best boy or girl. Cheese is thoughtful, it’s fun, and it’s more unique than a typical box of chocolates. A well-thought-out cheese plate says so many things. To a true cheese lover, it says, “You’re awesome enough to warrant something really special.”
Many people are intimidated by fine artisan cheeses. I see them all the time, standing at their local cheese counters, looking woeful as they poke at wedge after wedge, unsure which to pick. But never fear, my friends! Here are three varieties that will create a nicely balanced plate of Valentine’s Day cheeses. They’re perfect before or after dinner — or might I suggest a couchside picnic in front of the fireplace? You could even make a nice, late-winter salad.
Valentine’s Day cheese plate tip: These light colored cheeses look great on dark surfaces, so why not find a nice, red platter or a deep-golden cheese board to serve them on? A handful of colorful napkins and a box of simple water crackers will complete the table setting.
Also, print this post out and take it with you when you go to the store. If they happen to be out of one of the cheeses, your cheese monger will happily find you something similar and equally awesome.
- Tomme Fleur Verte Chèvrefeuille: A gorgeously presented herb-wrapped goat cheese, Tomme Fleur Verte Chèvrefeuille is mild in its goaty tartness with a uniquely herbal flavor. Coated with a thin layer of tarragon, thyme, and crushed pink peppercorns, you’ll find a variety of compelling flavors in every bite. This cheese has a fluffy, tender paste that is neither too chalky nor too creamy. It’s a mild, well-textured chevré that may appeal even to those of the non-goat-loving persuasion.
- St Marcellin: Sold in a cute little pot, St. Marcellin is a delicate little cheese that requires protection from the world—so much so that it arrives at your home in a tiny terra cotta crock, sheltered from the bumps and bruises of commercial life. And for good reason, too. The rind of this cheese is almost non-existent at room temperature, and once warmed, even the gentlest prod of a cracker causes it to burst forth a fountain of sensuously unctuous cream.
- Rogue River Blue: Hands down, my favorite bleu cheese of all time. This luscious bleu is wrapped in brandy-soaked grape leaves and boasts a gently crunchy, peppery personality without going overboard. Sweet and spicy with a sinfully lush, fatty feeling across your tongue, Rogue River Blue is a cheese you’ll never forget. It’s a dairy revelation.
- Cazelle de Saint Affrique: If you love soft, slightly stinky cheeses, you’ll adore this little nugget of sheep’s milk magic. Beneath the wrinkly rind you’ll find a stout, meaty, lactic paste, and in its uber-ripe prime, Cazelle de Saint Affrique oozes a decadent creamline that is quite possibly worthy of joyful tears. You may sense a pleasant mushroomy-ness and perhaps a tickle or two of green asparagus. A great cheese for introducing someone to more complex flavors without overpowering their palate.
Notes for Valentine’s Day cheeses: Buy your cheeses a few days before serving to make sure they have time to ripen a bit before the big day. Always leave cheese out for about 45 minutes before serving to allow for the ultimate flavor experience, as fat-soluble flavor compounds flow more freely at room temperature, making them more flavorful.
This content was originally posted on FearlessFresh.com.