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up a cheese board is not so easy because you need to find a balance.
Ideally, you need to have all the main sorts of different
"cheeses" (French are proud to say that we have a different
cheese for each day of the year). Cheese is usually presented on a
wooden board with special service settings accompanied with a good
bottle of Burgundy or Bordeaux red wine (although the excellent local
Cabardès reds will do just as well at a fraction of the price); cheese
and red wine are famous for highly valueing each others' flavor. It is
always appreciated if you serve a lettuce with your cheeses, or better
still a salad with a French vinaigrette. Obviously you must not
forget French bread.
Below is a suggested mix of cheeses which, although not comprehensive, will never fail:
|Camembert||This is the French national cheese (if there is one) It is simply made of cow milk, and tastes far better when creamy, so let it outside of the fridge for a few hours before serving so that you make it softer.|
|Brie||Similar to camembert but without the characteristic "smelly feet" bouquet which can put some people off - comments on serving the same.|
|Goats' Milk Cheese||This
is excellent and will be the allied of most good red wines because it
brings out their flavor. Goat's milk
cheese can be very dry, fresh or creamy - best to go for a medium dry one. A local speciality
|Ewes' Milk Cheese||Roquefort is the most famous, but there are many others which can be hard or soft.The flavor is very authentic but sometimes too powerful for "non-initiated" people. Best accompanied by a desert wine, eg a muscat.|
|Cooked Cheese||It is not the most tasty, but you always need one on your board for those who like it.|
As apéritif time, this is another special convivial moment with your guests. Choose the right time to have them go to the living room and preferably make a real strong coffee in a coffee maker rather than using instant (which we never do !). Ideally, make an expresso for a strong coffee helps you digest.
Coffee the French way
Formal uses after Coffee
men, you must offer different kinds of "digestif" alcohols,
armagnac type ; remember the quantity is always very small and
preferably served in cognac special glasses.