I gave you a little hint at this post last week when I asked if you could guess what cows, sheep and goats have in common. The answer...their milk is used to make my all-time favorite food…cheese! So today I am creating a cheesescape to show you! I was already a cheese lover before I lived in France, but my time there made me hard-core! lol You cannot help but love cheese in a country that has over 400 recognized varieties of the stuff!
It’s my daughter’s birthday weekend, so I pulled out my French Limoges cheese plates for the occasion. And…the vintage-inspired French tea towels that I made last week will go perfectly with the plates!
Each plate stars one of the milk producers and some of the cheeses that are made from their milk. This one stars sheep and shows the cheeses made from ewe's milk, among them my favorite…Roquefort!
In the foreground of the cow plate is another favorite of mine…Emmental, or Swiss cheese, as it is known to most Americans.
Goat cheese is simply called chèvre in French, just the same as the word for goat! My favorite is chèvre cendré, in which the cheese is covered with a powdered vegetable ash, but it is virtually impossible to find here.
Here is the fourth plate, displaying a little map of France and the geographic regions associated with the cheeses. The French government strictly controls the use of the names of the cheeses and confines them to the region where they are actually produced. It’s similar to the idea for us as Southerners that Vidalia onions must come from Vidalia, Georgia!
I will use this plate for serving the baguette…because you can’t have French cheese without French bread! Some people like crackers…but for me, it has to be a crusty baguette…bien sûr!
Of course, there must be wine! I have chosen a good French red wine...Beaujolais-Villages…because it tends to be a medium-bodied red and I am shooting for the middle with my three cheeses. I must add that I am no wine aficionado, so you might consult a wine and cheese pairing website such as this one.
I have also included some butter in my wonderful silverplate butter dome…a favorite $6.00 Goodwill find a while back. I’ll explain more about the butter in just a moment. The basket is a recent GW find for $3.00. I was really excited to find it since I had been admiring it on several blogs!
And here is the most important part…the cheese platter! I am using three cheeses from three different milk sources and I have arranged them from mildest to strongest starting at the bottom going clockwise, as is the traditional method, although some people prefer to start at the top. I have also added a variety of fresh fruit…brown turkey figs, Bosc pears and red seedless grapes…to compliment the cheeses.
The mildest cheese is the chèvre, made from goat’s milk.
Next is the Emmentaler, or Swiss cheese, made from cow’s milk...
…and finally comes the strongest and my favorite, Roquefort, made from ewe’s milk. In fact, it is so strong that my French friends spread a little butter on the bread before adding the cheese to soften the taste a little bit. As for me, I can eat it straight! And, in case you are wondering how Roquefort is different from bleu, bleu cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a different mold added to create the blue veins. None of the three cheeses is actually extremely mild, but my family tends to like the stronger cheeses.
Baby Kitty has a few tips for creating a cheese platter that he learned from his French friends:
~Take the cheese out of the fridge a couple of hours before serving it, cover it and let it stand. You can’t taste it when it’s cold!
~Serve an odd number of cheeses. It just looks better on the plate.
~Have a different knife for each cheese so that the tastes of the cheeses don’t mingle.
~Place them on the platter from mildest to strongest going clockwise.
~Leave the cheese whole and let your guests cut off what they want. It looks too much like it came from the deli if you pre-slice it.
~I am reminded by a comment from Mary that you should never cut off the pointed end (called the nose) of the cheese. As a guest, you would always cut your portion of the cheese so that you preserve its shape. Also...never dig the cheese out and leave the rind! Just a couple of cheese faux pas to avoid!
~More tips and suggestions for creating a cheese platter can be found here.
And there you have my cheesescape! Now if you will excuse me, I have company coming and we have some…er…props to clean up! Yummy!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my cheese platter! Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures on Mondays
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Sizzle into Summer
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Leigh at Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday
Jill at French Cupboard for Voilà! French Inspiration on Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Fridays
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!