There are few things I love as much as I love a cheese plate — before it became ever so fashionable here in the States, I was serving up platters of miscellaneous fermented cow’s milk to my friends (and they’d like it) even if I wasn’t overly ambitious with my selections (brie, cheddar, perhaps a swiss). For a Thanksgiving dinner for ten I hosted four years ago I carefully planned my cheese plate and presented it with the dessert course; I think most of my guests were a bit bemused by my offering and so I enjoyed the various cheeses for the ensuing weeks. But the cheese course is still one of my very favorites, not only because it is French; it is delicious, too.
Last weekend I ran a half-marathon, and decided that the most alluring way to celebrate would be to sit around eating cheese and drinking the bottle of champagne my mother gave my for my birthday. And was it! I found a nice wedge of French brie (bien sur), a round of smoked Gouda, and a sharp cheddar, both from the Marin Cheese Company. My lovely guest brought a hunk of bleu cheese and another bottle of champagne to round out the plate (note to self: always, always drink champagne icy cold).
Other tidbits included: home-made hummus, olives, truffles, pistachio nuts, strawberries, and fresh bread. Also, the apple slices along with the cheese were crisp and delicious.
Sipping bubbly, gossiping about former work-mates, discussing the political state of the nation pre-election, and eating as much cheese as we could stomach was a wonderful way to forget I’d woken up at 5:45 that morning and run for 13.1 miles. And, of course, the sparkling wine was quite marvelous, too.