American cheesemonger Patrick Ambrosio chooses la crème de la crème for his festive cheese and wine party
Looking for a show-stopping festive amuse-bouche for a crowd? Think champagne paired with a triple crème. This opulent sub-group of bloomed rind cheeses achieve their seductive texture via the addition of cream or crème fraîche during the cheesemaking process, resulting in a texture like that of softened butter.
Explorateur, Pierre Robert, Brillat-Savarin, and Délice de Bourgogne are all excellent examples which are widely available in specialty shops. All are delicious and similar, the two major distinctions being salt balance and size.
As far as serving it at your Christmas or New Year event, it really could not be any simpler. Place your cheese on a platter and remove the top rind. Form a ring of crackers or sliced baguette around the cheese, adding a few groupings of berries or grapes here and there for colour. Your guests can serve themselves by spreading the creamy interior with a butter knife onto the base of their choice. So easy, and so délicieux!
The yeasty flavours and bubbles found in champagne or Crémant d’Alsace form the perfect partner, their tart effervescence forming harmony and cutting through the richness of each delicious bite. Let the holiday season begin!
About the author
Patrick Ambrosio is managing partner of the Village Cheese Merchant in Rockville Centre, NY. www.villagecheesemerchant.com