By now you should have most of the things on your list for an unforgettable Holiday cheese board! The last few items are stuff that should really wait until right before the party so you can get the freshest cut. The flavors will remain bright and since these are very popular styles of cheese, they should be freshly cut at any pre-cut counter.
I don’t think I need to say this but I’m going to anyway because it’s something that I feel strongly about. Please, have patience when doing your final bits of shopping. There will be tons of people out getting items for their holiday festivities and the people working behind the counters want you to have the best holiday fixins but they also have to deal with a barrage of impatient and frankly, rude people. Don’t be one. A smile and simple courtesy goes a long way in easing the frenetic energy of the season of those working hard to make everyone else’s holiday one to remember.
Alright, your final cheeses are:
Soft Ripened (also known as Bloomy Rind):
Here’s something to remember: not all soft ripened’s are bries but all bries are soft ripened. Did I just blow your mind there? Let me explain!
Brie is a name controlled cheese from very specific areas of France. Few cheeses actually retain the stringent certification to be labeled Brie. This may seem silly to most people but think of it like a trademark. France has worked hard to define what exactly a “Brie” is, usually even down to the breed of cow that the milk can come from, and that should be respected because ultimately it all falls back on France. I also think that using a blanket term like that diminishes the variety in texture and flavor that you can get in the soft ripened (bloomy rinded) category. You can really impress your cheesemonger by calling it by the appropriate style and it may also open your world to a range of cheeses you’ve never experienced before!
This category relates to the previous in that things tend to start of the same during the initial make process but instead of promoting that white bloomy rind, the cheesemaker will wash the cheese will something like a saline solution or beer/wine/cider/liquor to promote a sticky, sometimes stinky, rind. That stink can scare people away but often the stink really doesn’t actually represent the flavor of the cheese. In many instances, the paste is mild and buttery with a hint of funk. This is why going to a good shop that will let you taste cheese is a great way to go. You can experiment and find what level of funk is perfect for you.
Blue cheese is a category that I feel really is best experienced with a fresh cut. Also, this is a category that I feel strongly about talking to your cheesemonger and trying through many types. Blue cheeses can be a bit controversial in some circles so being able to really find the perfect one for your holiday festivities may take a bit of time. Don’t be afraid to ask for something more crowd pleasing or something more robust. Giving your cheesemonger a base to start with is always helpful. It helps them narrow down the selection to the things you might be more interested in.
Are you feeling ready for the festivities? Hopefully, shopping throughout the month has helped ease some of the tension of the stressful Holiday times or you could just go my route and buy one show stopping cheese and call it a day (though my husband and I celebrate by ourselves so it’s a true indulgence!)
I’d love to see your holiday entertaining! Tag me on Instagram so I can see!
A Certified Cheese Professional living the cheesy life.