A #guide to #cheese varieties and #pairing

cheeseOther than being used as a topping, we tell you how cheese can be eaten the traditional way!

While the variety of cheesy snacks are increasing these days – from cheese-topped poha and even dhoklas with melted cheese, we tell you the traditional way cheese is eaten.

Gourmet all the way – While mozzarella became a hit when people went crazy about the stringy, chewy pizza topping, desserts like cheesecakes and tiramisu made us take notice of mascarpone and cream cheese. Delicious salads made of fruits, veggies and herbs, are also topped up with cheese. Mira Maniar, who loves to experiment with her dishes says, “Recently, I made gourmet burgers using smoked cheddar and provolone. Not just that, even restaurants offer pizzas topped with cheeses like feta and gouda, which until a few years ago, were completely unheard of.”

Plating and pairing – One of the most important things that needs focus when it comes to cheese is how it should be plated and what it should be paired with. Chef Ravi Dua says, “I was surprised to find how well-aware people are when it comes to cheese and their pairings. There are a variety of TV shows that educate people these days on what cheese can be eaten with what and how you can plate it. We get a lot of requests to serve cheese platters with specific pairings at events and small parties. Not just that, markets are also well-stocked with foods that work as great cheese pairings, including artisan crackers and breads like nutty walnut loafs, sourdough breads, baguettes and even brioche that can be made on order.”

Cheese pairings to avoid – Citrus fruits: Acidic and watery fruits can kill the flavour of your cheese and the water from them can also ruin the plate. -Strongly flavoured bread and crackers: Heavy flavours like garlic and onion are a complete no-no on your platter as they can interfere with the actual taste of your cheese. Some cheese already have underlying onion and garlic flavours, it is not advisable to go overboard with the tastes. -Spicy food: Again, a strong spicy taste will kill the taste of cheese. Instead, the cheese will end up soothing your tastebuds from the spice – defeating the whole purpose of a platter. -Not all nuts go with cheese: While nuts and dried fruit go well with cheese, not all of them make great pairings. Cashews are avoidable.

Good cheese pairings – Pecans, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts go well with hard cheeses, while pistachios go with soft ones. -Grapes, figs and dates are all great to serve your cheeses with. -Olives and cheese are a great match. You can put onion relishes and greek yogurt dips on the side.

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