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what is your ideal cheese plate/board?

am hoping to serve 2-4 cheeses at a nye party and amlooking for something new. stuck in a rut i like but it is a rut! usually i do some kind of sharp cheddar, a blue, a goast cheese and something else. tried a cheese recently i was crazy about called istara, a raw sheep's milk cheese... it was divine. when i read that it had "nutty/figgy" flavor i was sold.
what are your favorite cheeses to serve? and are there any accompanyments you can't live without (i'm crazy about those spanish, anise-flavored tortas/crackers)?

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  1. ines rosales tortas- they are indeed fabulous.

    Any of the Istara cheeses- P'tit Basque, Etorki, would be fine.

    I'm loving our great american cheeses, however- Pleasant Ridge Reserve for a pressed cheese, any of the beautiful aged cheeses from Vermont Butter and Cheese (Coupole, Bonne Bouche, Cremont) and a blue from Rogue Creamery (such as Rogue River Blue, Caveman or Oregonzola). Green Hill from Sweet Grass Dairy in GA is a buttery, delightful bloomy cheese.

    The real question is- do you have access to a good cheese shop?

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheesemonger

      thanks for the terrific suggestions! i guess i'm a newbie (more than one istara?! yea!). i'm not sure if i could say cleveland has a good, dedicated cheese shop. however, we do have a great market and there's a little mediterrenean grocer who gets wonderful cheeses... he is who turned me on to istara and maytag, etc. i'm going to ask about the sweet grass dairy cheese you recommended. have seen the vermont butter + cheese selections but have not tried them. exciting! have you ever tried the different varieties of fig cakes?

    2. Most people I know will not truly enjoy a master cheese layout on NYE. (they are too into the alcohol and more substantial hors d'oeuvres). What I put out is both a sharp and mild cheddar, pepperoni, several different crackers, grapes, and strawberries.

      1. I love La Tur -- a combination goat, cow, and sheep milk. Very sexy and yummy! Also recently had a Spanish goat cheese named Leonora. Loved it enough to stop and take note. Have a delicious NYE celebration!

        2 Replies
        1. re: amyleechen

          so excited to get these recommendations... thank you! sexy cheese, oh my! can't wait to try it.

          1. re: swiftbanderilla

            Do let us know what you put together and enjoyed! May you have many wonderful cheese plates in the coming new year!

        2. We're doing a NYE get together this year and are doing a cheese selection. We're doing brie, chevre, that flaky gouda from costco, manchego, and something nice and moldy.

          I also have salami, smoked salmon. crackers, and will be making a couple of other things for people to eat, sharp cheddar gougeres filled with (yet again) costco's sonoma chicken salad, toast points topped with sautéed crimini mushrooms and creme fraiche, and maybe smoked salmon, herb, and creme fraiche crostini. Of course there will be a few different types of olives and some sliced apples as well.

          I'm also making coconut cake and lemon bars.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LaureltQ

            what a great spread! the toast points sound especiallly delicious (and i'm a sucker for any smoked fish). i just made an old recipe of my mom's (who is 80+) - sounds terrible but it is good... stuffed spanish olives in a cheddar pastry that is heated for 12 minutes at 400degrees. crispy outside, flaky and salty inside... great with cocktails. i love coconut cake but am kind of intimidated by making it. good for you! sounds really great... thanks for sharing and have a wonderful nye!

          2. I also like the istara P'tit Basque and have found most people really like it.