By: Beth Hoven Rotto, Cheese and Chill Buyer
Do you delight in cheese like I do? I hope so! I’ve got many incredible cheeses coming to our store this November and December especially for your enjoyment while gathering around the table with family or friends. Many of these cheeses had to be ordered some weeks ago to allow time for the cheesemakers to produce and age enough for increased holiday demand. That means, when you see a cheese you want, don’t wait to pick it up. I may not be able to reorder.
To create a cheese board for a simple meal at home or for entertaining a crowd, choose 3-5 cheeses of different types. I’ve listed some of the cheeses expected by category below to help you see some of the variety we will have over the coming weeks. In addition to the cheeses, put out a selection of small amounts of things, including dried or fresh fruit, crackers, nuts, olives, meats, preserves, chutney, and sourdough or whole grain breads. Then start nibbling for a festive tasting experience. The cheeses expected include the following:
• Fresh and soft cheeses like Quark, a German style cream cheese made in Iowa, and Petite Truffle cheese made in California.
• Cheeses like Bulgarian Feta and Organic Bio Feta in brine.
• Semi-soft cheeses like Smoked Gouda from Minnesota and Morel and Leek Jack from Wisconsin.
• Cheddars like Snowdonia from Wales with a variety of plain and flavored cheddars, including Amber Mist made with Scotch whiskey or Ruby Mist with the warmth of Port and Brandy.
• Hard cheeses like Beenster’s Paradiso made in Holland.
• Blue cheeses like the Artisan Cheese Exchange Blue Jay, a juniper berry infused quintuple creme blue, and Fior d’Aranicio, an Italian blue cheese soaked in sweet, fruity wine.
• Washed-rind cheeses like Good Thunder which is washed with Surly Bender Beer and made in Minnesota and Taleggio Italian cheese.
• Goat cheeses like Apricot-Thyme Goat Crumbles from Vermont or the French Beurre Chevre Caramel (yes, that means caramel!).
• Mixed milk cheeses like Dalmatinac, a cow and sheep’s milk cheese from Croatia and Benedictine made from sheep, cow and goat milk in Wisconsin.
Also, remember that we regularly carry cheeses that are also holiday favorites including Norwegian brown Geitost, English blue veined Stilton, Manchego from Spanish sheep’s milk, soft French Brie, and hard Italian Parmesan.
Don’t forget to come to the Co-op for wonderful local cheese, which is really the backbone of our selection. Look for Organic Valley, Yellow River Dairy, Montchevre, Mount Sterling and our store line of Discover Local cheeses among others. Remember that we have small pieces in our Bits and Bargains bin that are good as a sample size, for small households, or just for variety.