recommendations for a fruit and cheese plate
- sara Jun 5, 2002 01:59 PM
I'm having a dinner party this fiday starting with potato and leek soup and a main course of roasted pork with stuffed tomatoes.
I want to end with a fruit and cheese platter. What are some good matches? Plus, which wine with it? Thanks!!!
Stilton, pears, and port is always good, but the best fruit/cheese/wine combination I've ever had was cabrales (a Spanish blue), perfectly ripe white peaches, and a black muscat made by Quady called Elysium...heavenly.
I like pears or asian pears with cheese, also walnuts and dates.
I assume you are having more than one cheese, but if not, remember there are a few of us weirdos out there that won't eat blue cheese.
Basic idea is to have three or four cheeses of different types (soft, sheep or goat/chevre, semi-firm, firm, blue). Depending on where you are, consider the ripeness of the fruits available, and only choose those that are truly ripe; dried fruits can be better in certain cases.
Among the cheeses to consider other than those already mentioned:
(1) Soft: Taleggio or the various Vacherins or Roblochons. And Hubbardston Blue (not a blue cheese) from Massachusetts is wonderful with dried figs....
(2) Sheep, goat/chevre: Petit Basque (sheep), and the wonderful American goat cheeses by Coach.
(3) Semi-firm: Comte, Castellano (Spanish; some variations are mixed from sheep, cow and goat milk - wonderful)
(4) Firm: Parmigiano-Reggiano is superlative for eating; actually, for practically anything. Also Vella Dry Jack.
(5) Blue: Gorgonzola dolce (the younger, softer form; melts in your mouth, not in your hands), Maytag Blue
We had a fruit and cheese platter just Sunday afternoon. The cheese was a mild parmesan (from Gelson's) and it was surprisingly good with the absolutely freshest, sweetest strawberries (from a produce stand at the Strawberry Hill Golf course). They also had a blue cheese, and there were compliments on that, too (although I don't eat blue cheese, myself.) These cheeses were not the standard wrapped commercial kind, but provided by a supermarket. Maybe you have a Gelson's Market near you or a fine cheese shop. The simple combination was quite satisfying. I like the parmesan because it is a strong flavor and you really don't have to eat much of it to be sated. But, the strawberries have to be very sweet to couple nicely.
For fruit I would go with slices of green apples ,pears and green grapes.Dates ,figs and nuts on the side. I would also have a tray of small slices of dark breads. Classic matches are Goat cheese (Try Humboldt Fog from California) and Sauvignon Blanc(I like New Zealand's from the Marlborough region).It's nice to have a variety going from soft to hard. Favorite double and triple creams are St. Andre and Pierre Robert. Epoisses matches with White Burgundy.Semi Soft's like St. Nectaire,Fontina, Morbier and Tomme de Savoie match with Alsatian Rieslings.Blues (salty) match with sweet wines. Roquefort with Sauternes,Stilton with Port.Many Wine sites have Cheese Wine pairing charts,check Wine Spectator and www.wine-lovers-page.com.Since you're having the pork you might want to drink a German Spatlese Riesling which goes with many Cheeses.
The March 31, 2002 issue of Wine Spectator has a lengthy cover article about cheese, and goes into considerable detail about cheese/wine pairings. The consensus of cheese experts seems to be that white wines are better bets with cheeses than most reds, and to consider dessert wines if you are also serving fruit.
One combo not yet mentioned is Manchego, membrillo (quince paste), almonds and sherry.
On a lighter note, not too long ago, we had a wonderful cheese/fruit/wine combination of a J.J.Prum Spatlese Riesling with chevre and ripe bartlett pear. That wine would also be lovely with moscarpone and strawberries.