Summer Cheese Board
Ain’t no Party like a Cheese Board Party!
It’s SUMMER and in our house that means entertaining on random days of the week, dousing ourselves with bug spray and braving the back yard with friends and family. Sometimes these gatherings pop up in a matter of moments, so being prepared for a crowd at all times is important. Good quality cheese, cured meats, and pickled vegetables keep well for a bit in the fridge and so are perfect inventory to have at hand all season.
I chatted recently with my friend and cheese sensei Suzy Thompson of Forward Foods in Norman. She gave some suggestions for the cheese display you see here, which is nice enough to impress fellow fromagephiles but accessible enough that less adventurous eaters will love it just as well.
As for quantity, accounting for between 4 and 8 ounces of cheese per person is great, but leftovers are great too, so I err on the side of more is better! There are no hard and fast rules regarding a cheese display, Suzy suggests just getting what you like, but getting a few cheeses with different qualities makes for a nice display. Varieties of cow, sheep, goat, hard, soft, raw, and pasteurized look great on the board and keep your guests coming back for more.
1. Mixed Drum is a raw milk cheese from Twig Farm in Vermont. It is made with a mix of cow’s and goat’s milks and tastes like earthy melted butter with a hint of peanuts.
2. Von Trapp Farmstead “OMA” yes, those Von Trapps. This sweet and salty raw cow’s milk, washed-rind cheese will have you climbing ev’ry mountain for its deliciousness.
3. Cornichons are tiny, tart pickles that make life worth living. If you’re English they’re Gherkins.
4. Local Honey from the Farmer’s Market.
5. Pecorino Maschio is a raw sheep’s milk cheese from Italy. The rind is brushed with olive oil as it ages for a full year giving it a savory, buttery flavor.
6. Salame Rossa is slightly spicy with a wide appeal. This style of salame has origins in Bologna, Italy.
7. Baguette from Farrell Family Bread baked in Tulsa, OK.
8. Humboldt Fog takes its name from Humboldt County in Northern California and the daily fog that settles near the coast. A line of vegetable ash runs through the center of this goat’s milk cheese. Mild and creamy, the wheels are coated with a layer of ash and a white rind, reminiscent of a Brie. ALSO IT IS MY FAVORITE CHEESE.
9. Turkish Apricots, okay, you can get dried apricots anywhere, but these are sulfite free for those who are sensitive or averse. And they’re delicious.
10. Shakerag Blue say it all together, more like “shakkaragg”, or you can say it “shake rag” like I did, doesn’t matter, it’s still delicious wrapped in its jacket of whisky soaked fig leaves. Made in Tennessee from raw cow’s milk, it’s creamy and crumbly and divine.
11. Tamworth Proscuitto refers to the breed of pig, but is an American style Proscuitto.
12. Castelvetrano Olives hailing from Western Sicily, these bright green olives are famous for their sweetness.