Cheese course for dessert
Talking about farmer’s markets
Blueberry ricotta parfait
This week’s article about serving a cheese course for dessert garned quite a few email comments so here is a follow up to answer some of the questions brought up by you the readers.
First off, the best places to find Pennsylvannia crafted cheeses are at your Philadelphia area farmer’s markets.
If you can’t make it to a farmer’s market the next best place to look is at a natural or organic food store or a co-op. Often times these stores make it a priority to stock locally produced products.
Lastly, many farms have stores on premise so if you are heading out of the city for a weekend you can stop by the farm. The Pennsylvannia & Farmstead Artisan Cheese Alliance has a directory of cheesemakers you can download from a link at the bottom of their homepage.
Cheese works so well with dessert because it pairs well with many ingredients that are used frequently in desserts such as fruit, chocolate, and nuts. Just remember that the flavor of good cheese is complex so keep your pairings simple. This is not to say don’t be adventorous and try blue cheese with a semi-sweet chocolate. Just try to avoid adding too many items to the pairing. Stop at cheese and chocolate or cheese and fruit. When you plan the dessert course try to find three cheeses that will all go well with a different chocolate and stick with that. Don’t put fruit and jam out as well. Keep cheese courses simple.
Many people always think of cheese and wine, but for dessert think about cheese and beer. The summer edition of Culture magazine has a pull out section about pairing cheese and beer. Check it out for some ideas on pairing beers with your dessert cheese course.
Lastly, lot of people have asked what types of cheese work well for dessert and honestly, the answer is almost every. Now some are better than others; a Parmesan or a Provolone are not the best after dinner cheeses but really is has to do with your tastes and what you are looking for. Start out with milder, softer cheeses and work your way up to harder, more intense ones. For some people a maple smoked cheddar with apple chutney makes a great dessert, while for others it is marscapone and nutella spread on brioche. Try as many cheeses and possible and see what you like.
Cheese is one of the best foods made by man and it is not just for savory cooking so go out, grab some local cheese and enjoy and remember to always eat dessert first!!!