Wednesday, 11 July 2012

It's All about Presentation!

Today, we will share with you a few secrets on the presentation of these mouthwatering delights. The more enticing and alluring you make your food look, the more tastier it is perceived.

 Soft, runny cheeses can be left in their box and guests can use a spoon to scoop the soft cheese onto a cocktail plate or a slice of baguette. Round cheeses, such as Camembert cheese should be cut in half and then into small triangle wedges. Larger firm cheeses should be cut into wedges and placed on their side to be sliced. Square cheeses like Taleggio can be cut diagonally and then into smaller triangle wedges. The rule is that every piece should get a little of the centre, where the cheese is at its strongest and a piece of the rind where it is at its most mature. 

And we are not done yet! Once the selection is finalized, do not forget to add some accessories! Grapes, crackers, wines are classic pairings to cheese. Having already discussed what fruits and nuts pair well with the different types of cheeses, here is a list of wine pairings that you might find helpful! You'll find all these wines and other trimmings at any of our Godrej Nature's Basket Stores.

Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon; Cheeses to Consider:Camembert, Cheddar, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Parmesan, Blue cheese, Roquefort
Wine: Chardonnay; Cheese to Consider: Brie, Camembert, goat cheese, Gouda, Gruyere cheese, Parmesan, Provolone
Wine: Champagne; Cheese to Consider: Beaufort, Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Chevre, Edam, Gouda, Gruyere, Parmesan
Wine: Chenin Blanc; Cheese to Consider: Camembert, goat cheese - Feta, Chevre
Wine: Chianti; Cheese to Consider: Fontina, Mozarella, Parmesan or Provolone
Wine: Dessert Wine; Cheese to Consider: Blue cheese.
Wine: Merlot; Cheese to Consider: Camembert, Gouda, Gruyere, Pecorino
Wine: Shiraz; Cheese to Consider: Edam, Sharp/Mature Cheddar, Gouda

 So what are you waiting for? Treat your guests to the exotic gourmet evening That definitely is going to have them keep asking for more. 

Plating Your Cheese

We know that cheese can be quite tricky when it comes down to selecting only a few options. You never know how many varieties to serve to ensure a good spread but not overwhelm the palate. It is advisable to serve five cheeses, because this allows you to offer an interesting variety without being too extravagant. 

Allow about 60g of cheese per guest if it is a tasting or appetizer plate before a meal, for a main course, allow 90-100g. How you cut your cheeses is important. Avoid cutting cheeses hours in advance because their flavors are at their peak when they are first sliced! Use a sharp chef's knife for semi-soft to hard cheeses, a thin utility knife for softer cheeses. Don’t forget to dip the knife in warm water and wipe before use.

Its all about presentation folks! The way you compose your platter can influence how well the cheese board is received. Lay your cheeses on the platter in a way that the mildest cheese is at the beginning followed by the strong ones. Your spread can have a mix of a fresh cheese such as a Boursin or Chevre, then the slightly sharp flavoured rind cheese such as a Brie, the stinky ones like the Limburger, Muenster or a Tallegio, cooked pressed cheese such as a Gouda, Chedder, Emmenthal, Gruyere, or even Parmigianino for the less adventurous ones, and one Blue cheese such as a Gorgonzola, Stilton or Roquefort to finish off.

Pick Your Cheese Wisely

A whole counter full of exotic cheeses, all with different colours, textures, flavours and aromas can be quite  dazzling! You might want to get your hands on a bit of everything. However, it is  important to know how different cheeses pair together. Some may be sharp while some might be subtle and delicate. So how do you choose the perfect combination of cheeses?

The most convenient way of selecting cheeses for a platter is to go with a theme. This helps one to dish out an assortment much faster considering the selection is then from dozens and not from the hundreds that are available at Godrej Nature’s Basket.all this month, we at Nature's Basket are having a "World Cheese Fest" where they will be sourcing cheese from all over the world. This gives you all the more reason to get yourself acquainted with the delights of some yummy cheese slices. 

So what exactly must one consider while buying cheese? The Country of origin, milk type, texture, producer, cheese type, rind, matching a wine you are serving – all of these are potential themes for a plate. While this is an easier path, not having a theme also works. Picking one cheese each from the category of milk types –sheep, goat, cow – can create a cheese plate with textural, flavor, and visual treat. Depending on the kind of cheese you select, you can pair it up with nuts and fruits. 

Here are a few pointers to help you decide your cheese platter -

  • Fresh goat and sheep cheeses (Feta, Chevre): figs, fresh peaches, plums. 
  • Double and triple creme (Brie, Camembert, Picolo): Try some dried fruit like apricots, cherries or cranberries. 
  • Blue cheeses (Stilton, Gorgonzola) : Most blue cheeses have a natural sweetness to them and go very well with honey and fruit jams such as membrillo, apple, or cherries. If using fresh fruit I would stick with stone fruit, grapes, green apples or figs. When using dried fruit your options are almost limitless. In particular we like dried apricots, cranberries and figs. They also pair well with caramelized walnuts or hazelnuts and toasted almonds.
  • Cheddars : For fruit, apples. pears, apricots. Nuts are also nice (toasted or caramelized). Jams/compotes such as quince, apricot, fig, blueberry can be a great addition.
  • Gouda: Apples and pears.
  • Smoked cheeses(Smoked cheddar, smoked gouda) : Toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts are nice. 
  • Firm cheeses (Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, Grana Padano): Sharp flavours like pineapple with pepper, or anything with some sweetness and a little bite goes well.
That's all for now folks! Stay tuned for more notes on how to present and compose your cheese platter.

Let's Get Cheesy!

Everyone is a closet cheese addict. No one can get enough of it! Be it the hard parmigiano reggiano, creamy flavoured cheeses or the crumbly Feta, one can indulge in all! Its pretty strange that cheese is such a popular ingredient in India since, Indian cuisine does not really have cheeses in its repertoire. The only indigenous cheese we can call our own is Paneer, or the cottage cheese.

It can get really confusing to decide what cheese platters to serve for dinner parties. How does one decide what cheeses to serve together, what was Gorgonzola, what was the difference between Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano? Which was that Cheese with the holes in it? What wine did one serve with cheese? If you've ever had these queries, then they are about to be answered in the most delicious way possible. So keep checking this space as we will be updating it with loads of cheesy tips as part of the "World Cheese Fest" we are currently celebrating at Godrej Nature's Basket with exotic cheeses sourced from all over the world.