By Barrie Lynn – The Cheese Impresario
My passion for cheese came to me through being struck by Cupid’s Arrow. As a former advertising executive, I entertained my clients regularly. I took a client to a fundraiser for Slow Food, it was a cheese tasting. I tasted a cheese made by a small Wisconsin cheesemaker and it blew my mind. It was Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a cow’s milk alpine style cheese made by Upland’s Cheese Company located in this state’s pristine rolling pasturelands. My whole world shifted, I fell in love and the rest is history.
I studied cheese, took cheese classes, traveled as far as Italy hiking up in the mountains to visit cheesemakers, I’ve got a complete library of cheese books and have read every one of them. So when you’re in love you go for it…right! I joined The American Cheese Society and went to their national conference. In marketing, you look for what’s not being done that needs to be done. I thought these cheeses that are made by family cheesemakers should be available to more people, I actually imagined them being sold in supermarkets. I lived in Hollywood at the time and decided to focus my attention on popular culture and celebrity. This strategy led me to pitch the Oscars to be in their famous Goodie Bag. I was actually chosen for this honor and my gift was to bring the stars my Artisanal Cheese & Wine Pairing Adventure right in their own home. Well, the media went wild when they learned of my gift. “The Cheesiest Gift in Hollywood History” read the headlines. So I knew I had something and I stopped working in corporate America, a career I had for over 30 years. I was so in love with the whole cheese thing, the flavors, the pairings with libations, the creative and hard-working cheesemakers, I really couldn’t help myself, and here I am years later writing for Mizenplace.com.
For this column, I’ll provide you a few tips on how to entertain with artisanal cheese.
1: Serve an ounce of cheese per type of cheese per person.
2: Serve 3 to 5 different kinds of cheese. Any more than this confuses your palate.
3: Place your cheeses on your cheese board from mild to the most robust. I do my cheese boards clockwise with the first cheese at noon.
4: Take your cheeses out of the fridge at least an hour before serving. This will give you and your guest the best flavors from the cheese. Just like white wine or Champagne, you don’t want it too cold or you miss the nuances.
5: I use unsalted nuts on my cheese board…who needs more salt?
6: I love dried fruit like figs, apricots, raisins, and apples with my cheese…there are so many delightful choices.
7: Serve your cheese with French baguette or plain unsalted crackers.
8: Use a different knife for each cheese so you don’t pollute each separate cheese’s flavor.
9: Drizzle honey on cheese. There are over 300 varieties of honey in our country alone. Have fun with this. Sometimes at the end of one of my Artisanal Cheese & Wine Pairing Adventures, I have honey stuck all through my hair!
10: Delight in your cheese board with friends and family.
For more information check out her website: http://www.thecheeseimpresario.com/