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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
 
    May 2005    Page 6       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

 

Feature Articles
 Beat The Monday Blues
 The Cholesterol Myth
 Make it Low Carb!
 Great Low Carb Ice Creams
 Spring Redecorating!
 Just Say Cheese
 Glycemic Index vs Load
 Low Carb Grows Up!
 Dreamfields Readers' Forum
 An Open Letter to My Mother
 The Weight Loss Alphabet
 The Story of Mother's Day
 Soothing Sounds of Music
 Teach Your Children Well


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  Megan's Pecans from The Low Carb Connoisseur

   
 
                          Just Say Cheese!
 "A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may
        be oversophisticated. Yet it remains, cheese... milk's leap toward immortality."
                                                                              Clifton Fadiman

Ah The Power of Cheese, indeed!

Could it be true that cheese is the No. 1 food craving in America, even beating out chocolate? Cheese is replacing chocolate in the hearts of consumers. It's true!

Independent research revealed that when consumers were asked which food gift they?d like to receive, more Americans said they would rather receive cheese (19%) than candy (13%).

Americans are learning to love cheese all by itself thanks to many restaurants now offering an after-dinner cheese course, allowing consumers to enjoy flavorful cheeses with fruit, nuts or breads. Move over death-by-chocolate layered cake. Make way for cheese!

Cheese is big business for retailers. Volume sales in 2004 were 2.5 billion lbs, up 1.2% from 2001, and dollar sales were $7.6 billion, up 2.6%, according to Information Resources Inc.

It?s well established that Americans have a strong and growing appetite for cheese. And we?re not just talking an extra slice of American on a burger. Americans are gobbling up cheeses of every form, flavor and fashion — to the tune of about 30 lbs per person annually.

So now that we know you love it, here's a Cheese FAQ to help you enjoy it to the fullest.

 

How Do I Serve Cheese?

Serve all cheeses at room temperature! Remove cheeses from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Hard cheeses take longer to reach room temperature. As a rustic peasant food, cheese displays well on wood or marble or stone boards, surrounded by fruits (especially berries), nuts, your favorite low carb breads or crackers, and wine.

Try to avoid cubing or slicing in advance, and put out one cheese knife or cheese plane per cheese. For a big crowd, where self-service is key, you may pre-slice or cube, but the cheese will dry out quickly and, as a display technique, it's fairly cheesy. If you must precut cheese, use a covered cheese dome.

                           

Cheese Board / Cheese Course:

Some basic things to consider when serving a cheese course:
 As hor d'oeurves, avoid sweet-ish cremes (which are more for dessert), blues (that can be too strong), or very aged cheese (almost always too strong.) Stick to bloomy rinds, medium washed rinds or semi-softs.

 Three to five cheeses are enough for any course. Less is more in this case.

 After dinner cheeses would typically start with a fresh cheese (e.g., chevre) or bloomy rind (e.g., camembert); then a semi-soft or medium cheese (e.g., Morbier or Cheddar); then a harder cheese (e.g., an aged Gouda); finally a blue (e.g., Roquefort).

 A cheese plate is arranged in clockwise fashion with the first cheese at midnight on the plate.

 It's a good idea to vary the milk types, too: goat, sheep and cow.

 Don't be afraid to experiment. Start with what you like first and work around it.
                           

How Cheese Do I Store Cheese?

When wrapping cheese you want to maintain moisture while allowing the cheese to breathe. Use aluminum foil, wax paper or plastic wrap (least favorable). Wrap securely and store in consistent temperature, preferably in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator.

Fresh Cheeses, such as cream cheese, are fragile and highly perishable-eat them quickly. They are best kept in airtight containers.

Soft-ripened and triple cremes, like Brie and Saint Andre, will keep at least a week refrigerated in plastic, but waxed paper is better if you can keep out the air.

Wrap semi-soft Taleggio, and the like, with plastic (stinky, washed-rind cheeses like Alsace Munster should have wrapping changed often.)

Semi-firm (eg. Comte, Fontina) should be wrapped securely to maintain moisture. In some instances when the cheese is crumbly moist like Caerphilly, wrap it in a slightly damp cloth.

Avoid letting hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano dry out; keep them securely wrapped in wax paper or foil.

Wrap Blue cheese securely in foil and refrigerate.

With individual chevres (eg. Valency, Crottin de Chavignol), avoid plastic wrap. Opt instead for foil, wax paper, or sealed containers. This allows the cheese to breathe, retaining moisture as it ages, and developing flavor and texture for up to two months.

Pasta Filata (eg. Mozzarella, Provolone): Fragile cheeses should be consumed quickly, if fresh. Avoid letting harder versions dry out by wrapping securely.

                           

What Wines Go With What Cheeses? 
An Oversimplified Guide:

Wine and cheese were typically paired from the same region. Now, with the explosive variety available to us, we can begin to experiment along these (admittedly) oversimplified guides.

 
CHEESES: WINES:
Fresh Cheeses Sweet wines, dry wines, rosés
Soft, Bloomy Rinds Medium reds, ciders
Washed Rinds Dry whites, beer & ales, full-bodied reds
Semi-Soft (uncooked) Medium reds
Semi-Soft (cooked) Fruity whites, full-bodied reds
Goats Either whites, or reds
Blues Ports, light reds

                           

What Else Can I Serve With Cheese?

  Almonds help bring out the subtleties of cheese flavor and aroma. Toasted hazelnuts and walnuts interchangeably work with cheese, and pecans go well with sweet or unctous cheeses.

  Olives naturally complement sheep and goat's milk cheese. Experiment with dried fruits like berries or melon.

  Chutneys (like Steel's low carb mango ginger chutney) are a tasty alternative that meld nicely with the texture and nuances of English farmhouse cheeses. Chutney with Cheddar is simply delicious. French chevre with its stark white moist, flaky or crumbly paste is a choice for chutney, also perfect with juicy plums, if your diet level can handle them.

  Try blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and whatever other ripe and bursting with flavor fresh berries are available. Apple slices with Cheddar and pears with Stilton are amazing if your carb count can accomodate.

  Serve thin slices of proscuitto, Serrano ham and sweet or spicy salamis, especially with aged cheeses like Pecorino and Manchego.

  If you choose to serve low carb crackers, pick unsalted ones. And the crustier low carb breads are best, especially with creamy soft ripened creations.

                                                             


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