The cheeses I like to serve are traditional styled cheeses. They offer a quick answer to wine pairing since often in a region where one finds a style of cheese being produced, one also finds a wine to match. For hard cheeses, I'll serve
which is a cow's milk cheese,
also a cow's milk cheese, and
, an aged sheep's milk cheese. The saltiness of these harder cheeses begs for slightly sweet accoutrements. This time of year, we are getting a lot of peppers out of the garden, and I like to make pepper jelly out of them and serve that along with a crisp whole-wheat cracker.
For soft cheeses, I'll serve
, which is a Loire Valley goat's milk cheese,
a triple cream cow's milk cheese from Burgundy and also
a Portuguese soft ripened sheep's milk cheese that has a slightly spongy texture due to a different rennet used in its production. I also add
which is a sheep's milk blue cheese from the Pyrénées region of France. I like crispy bread like a baguette with soft cheeses. I also like to pair fresh, crisp fruit with them, which offsets the creaminess of the cheeses and helps to reset your palette.
With the Serra da Estrella, I make an easy
that's both seasonal to us here but also a traditional accompaniment that I learned to love when I was visiting Porto. A cinch to make and usually a come-from-behind hit with my guests once I get them to try it.