Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mindful Cheese

Mindfulness Thoughts on Cheese
How to Create a Cheese Board

Each country has a traditional time to present cheese at a meal – Americans enjoy it as an appetizer, the French at the conclusion of the entrée and before the desert, the British as the glorious end to the meal. How many varieties of cheese you select for your board will depend on how many people you are serving, if it is the post dinner cheese, or if it will serve as the main course with crusty bread after a deliciously seasonal vegetable soup.  

Select the cheese that appeals in the amount that is right for you. Consider cheese as representatives of one country or region. Take the time to research the different cheeses available. Select three or four different types. Buy or make a good crusty whole grain loaf of chewy bread. Choose perfectly ripened fruit – apples, figs, red grapes, or pears are standard but very good choices. Choose fruit local to the same area as the cheese.  Prepare the fruit right before serving so it will look beautiful throughout the meal. Or, supplement the cheese with a simple leaf lettuce salad tossed with a bit of light Dijon vinaigrette.

Purchasing the best cheese you can find is important because you are not going to eat a lot of it. Just little nibbles of it. Even if you choose to have it as your entrée after a nice bowl of soup, you should only have 3-5 ounces.  Each ounce is going to have about 100 calories and quite a lot of that will be fat. Over eating cheese does not honor the incredible flavors that the cheese makers put together for you in such lovely rinds and waxes. One ounce of each type is more than sufficient. If you are eating your cheese as a prelude to dessert, then one or two ounces is all you need. Enjoy the flavors well and you will be fully satisfied.

Allow the cheese to come to room temperature on a nice wooden cutting board. If you have a cheese knife that is wonderful, but it’s not really critical – just use a good sharp knife for each cheese – do not mix the cheeses with one knife. Arrange the fruit or salad, napkins, little plates, and silverware in an appealing way as you set a charming Cheese Table Tableau.

Cheese is part of the French Paradox. The Cheese Paradox is that French people enjoy cheese at almost every meal and, if they eat in the traditional French way, are remarkably slim and heart healthy. One reason for this is that they eat in mindful moderation. They would never think to put two cups of cheese into a casserole. It is enjoyed and celebrated as a glorious food group unto itself with a place of honor at the table. I hope you will give this way of eating cheese a try. Enjoy cheese mindfully.

1 comment:

  1. I feel better about eating cheese after reading this and am looking forward to making a cheese board! Thank you!