Cheese can look glorious all on it’s own, but there are elegant and tasty ways to dress it up a little for a special occasion. The following suggestions and photos come directly from my cousin’s wedding in Napa (Nick and Suzi, you guys rock) and in my mind were the height of elegance and simple sophistication. And believe me everyone at the wedding was scooping up seconds and thirds with the nonchalance of a thief in a bank vault. Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Plate #1: Humboldt Fog with fresh figs and fig jam. As the wedding was in Napa this was a perfect homage to the terroir (I’m pretty sure they grow figs somewhere around there). The cheese is fresh (i.e., not aged) the fruit was fresh, and the combination could not be more visually stunning with the deep purple of the fruit contrasting with the pristine white of the cheese paste.
Plate #2: Manchego with membrillo (quince paste). If you are going to do a classic combination, do it well. They chose an excellent quality cheese and membrillo, and the rustic simplicity of the ingredients drew me back to the fields of España, with all the flavors and textural nuances that hail from the Mediterranean culture.
Plate #3: Gorgonzola dolce with raw honeycomb and hazelnuts. This is close to what my “stuck on a deserted island” meal would be. Only blue cheese packs enough punch and salt to pair with honey, and if you are going to have honey, make it the whole comb. It makes for an unforgettable visual presentation, and offers your guests an experience most have never had. Now for whom to take on that deserted island with you…
For more ideas on accompaniments, check out my posting Cheese, Accompanied, on the Restaurant Girl website.