Monday, May 7, 2012

Gour-Maybe Entertaining Essentials: Cheese Plate - SPAIN

l t r: valdeon, manchego, murcia al vino (far blurry right)
To give me an excuse to share some cheese knowledge consume cheese, I am going to be posting a series of cheese plates. I hope these will help you navigate the 750+ cheeses they have at Central Market and Whole Foods, Trader Joe's (or whatever grocery store you have in your area that has lots of cheese), because let's be honest - it can be overwhelming to find new options, but if you don't, you are stuck with the same old crap options. Let's start with Spain. Why? Because I lived there years ago, and it's one of my favorite places, so it's as good a place as any. This CP could be served with anything, but the Gour-Maybe way would be to do a Spanish-themed cocktail party (we love a theme) - serve Spanish wines (click here for a list of top Spanish Wines from Wine Advocate). For this plate I've picked 4 cheeses that should please even those really "particular" friends. You know who they are. There are also some suggestions for more adventurous cheese eaters, aka Gour-Maybes, aka "my kind of people." 
  • Manchego (SHEEP) - hard cheese, very easy to eat, very universal, will please most guests (you can also use Idiazabal for more advanced eaters)
  • Murcia al Vino (GOAT) - semi-soft, also called Drunken Goat cheese. (wine + cheese = delicious)
  • Mahon (COW) - another good, solid cheese that has a texture between Manchego and Murcia al Vino 
  • Valdeon (MIX) - blue cheese - I love this, I just tried it and it's one of my favorite blues!  (Cabrales is another blue option, but is very very strong - advanced cheese aficionados only)
More pics and accompaniment ideas after the jump. Cheese boards are from West Elm.

Valedeon, Manchego, Murcia al Vino, Quince Paste*, Mahon
Serve with:
Quince Paste* (pictured) - this is like a thick jelly, sweet and mild, really good.
Orange Blossom Honey - regular honey will also do
Marcona Almonds - Whole Foods has some Rosemary spiced Marconas that are amazing
Flatbreads, water crackers or any sliced bread like a baguette.

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