Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cheese Party!

There’s something thrilling and oh-so-decadent about receiving an invite in the (facebook)mail that summons you to attend a party devoted entirely to cheese. Sure you’ll get to see your friends and loved ones, and tipple some lovely wines in the process, but the promise of multiple cheese varieties spread out for your consumption is almost too much! Do you offer to bring a plate to show off your knowledge of the genre? Do you arrive early to sample the offerings before anyone has mixed up the cheese knives? (Seriously, keep that gear sorted dude). Or, do you insist that you will be taking your cheese in trough-form only, and would you be so kind to fashion me some form of rudimentary bib?

The cheese party is a curious thing. In my days as a university student, I was invited to a base “Coon & Goon” evening, where we sampled naught but packaged Coon brand cheese, and drank naught but cheap cask wine (“Hey Claire! We found a type of goon that’s cheaper by the litre than MILK”). Unimpressed.

Even so, everyone claims that their cheese night will be the shit, but what does it take to make the grade?

Some tips:

1. Variety is the spice of knife
I want to see blue, creamy, crumbly, smoked, vintage, foreign, local, cow’s, sheep’s, goat’s, yak’s…etc. You say you got cheese? Bring it!

2. Chill out bro
Seriously? You thought it wise to begin serving two hours before the start time in some sort of fit of “host syndrome” panic? No, dear. Keep it chilled in the fridge ’til it’s go-time and your guests will thank you.

3. Crackers
No joke in the title here. I’m for serious. Make the crackers thin and simple, and they won’t overpower the flavours of your cheese.

4. Accoutrements? Why I thought you’d never ask!
Olives, fruit, muscatels, cheese based snacks and perhaps a dessert pie to finish the evening – all these things will balance your cheese perfectly.

5. All you do is wine, wine, wine!
No surprises here. If you want to get the conversation flowing and to make the evening good fun, then booze me up rummy! Nothing says awkward like someone refusing your offer of wine, soft drinks and tap water because they’re not enough of a hard nut. Suckle at the teat of life my friend!

Been to a cheese nights with that kind of quintile-focussed success? I know I have! Amiright Jessica?! 


  1. I recommend using slices of apple or pear instead of crackers! Particularly for cheese of the sharp variety! YUM YUM YUM. Best blog ever.

  2. I've got to disagree on the refrigeration.
    Particularly with rind cheeses and stretched curd, a cool room temperature is the best.
    Fromager d'Affinois is a great one to try both chilled and tepid. I find the chilled one bitter where the temperate one is butter.

  3. OK, so I love everything here. I love the dot-point detail. I love the ideas you've presented for future cheese parties. I love the way that this blog has allowed other Cheesperts like Dan (yes, I just coined that) to share their Cheesledge (that too). More open cheese discussion just helps us to lose the fear.

  4. Wow loving the responses!

    Foodosopher, I totally love apple and pear (especially if it's under-ripe).

    Daniel - loving the ideas. That's been the great thing about writing on this blog, people have lots of great little things to try out. In terms of refrigeration, I love a room temp cheese, but it was more in reference to cheeses that get left out for five hours and start to get bits of cracker and junk mooshed in... That's just painful.

    Jess. Bring the cheesledge on you Cheesepert you!