Ask the Cheesemonger: Jason Sobosinski
Q: I’m having a dinner party, and I’d like to offer cheeses for guests to nibble on during the cocktail hour. How many kinds of cheese and how much of each should I serve? A:Too many different flavors before a meal can overwhelm your guest’s palates, so, for a group of eight or fewer people, I recommend serving just one cheese before dinner. A small goat’s milk cheese paired with an effervescent wine or craft beer can’t be beat. Avoid blues and washed-rind cheeses, as they might overwhelm the palate before the meal. For each guest, allow approximately 11/4 ounces of cheese; if you have 15 guests, ask your cheesemonger for two cheeses each — about two-thirds of a pound. For larger groups, set out two or three whole cheeses with a few knives and some sliced bread. Never precut your cheese! This will dry it out—and it takes up precious time that you could have used to clean up the living room. Easy does it.
Q: Are there any rules for choosing which jam to serve with a particular cheese? A:First off, there are no rules when serving or eating cheese. Anyone who says there are lacks creativity and lives in France (just kidding!). There are, however, some great cheese-and-jam combinations I’d suggest. My favorites include: Those are the standard combinations, but there are so many others that work really well. Savory onion jams, for example, are astounding with salty, Swiss-style, pressed-curd cheeses and sharp cheddars. And anytime you have a pungent blue or a robust washed-rind cheese, throw a bit of jam into the mix — the sweetness and acidity will balance the flavors of these cheeses and make them more approachable for the novice cheese-eater. Jason Sobosinski Caseus Fromagerie Bistro New Haven, Connecticut
Jason Sobosinski Caseus Fromagerie Bistro New Haven, Connecticut