Hello everyone and welcome to Food Jamming! This is my first post and the beginning of the blog’s journey. I decided to start this blog with something simple and enjoyable and then slowly dig into more fun recipes and dishes.
A few weeks ago, a French friend of mine happily surprised me with a piece of “Petit Munster Gerome” cheese, and the first thing that came to my mind, in addittion to the immense smell, was that a nice cheese like that deserves special attention in order to fully enjoy it.
While searching on the Internet I ran across Alex French Guy Cooking, who has a really informative video about selecting cheeses for assembling a French cheese platter. Unfortunately it is not easy to find so many French cheeses here in Sweden, so I went to a local store in Uppsala and, after trying several varieties of cheese, I decided to go with the following.
Since I’m in Sweden I was curious to try local cheeses and add them to the platter. My first choice was Lilla Gumman. It is a cow cheese made in the dairy farm Lillängens in Sunne, a small town in Värmlands, Sweden. The milk for Lilla Gumman comes from a specific breed of cows called Fjälko, which produce fatty milk that gives an extra kick to the cheese. The texture is soft and creamy and the flavor is rich but mild; it’s perfect if you are looking for an easy to eat cheese.
French goat cheese
While at the shop counter, a pyramid shaped cheese got my attention. According to the store owner it is a French goat cheese but unfortunately I couldn’t find any more information about its origin. Like goat cheeses often do, it had an intense smell that could make the weakhearted faint. The texture was quite creamy and the taste was quite complicated. It started with a nice a mild flavor which soon enough exploded into something much stronger.
Petit Munster Gerome
The star of the platter was of course the French cow milk cheese. As the name suggests it comes from the town Munster (Haut-Rhin) in France and the Petit part refers to the size of the cheese. It has an orange crust and a soft paste inside, followed by a stunning smell. When you taste it, you can feel a flaky texture and rich flavor, but not too overwhelming. It is a bit stronger than the Lilla Gumman but very enjoyable.
As this was my first attempt at a cheese platter I tried different sides to see which ones work best. So let’s discuss each one separately.
- French baguette and crackers: Of course the baguette could not be missing from the platter. It works better if it’s warm so the cheese can melt a bit when placed on top of the bread. The crackers, because of their plain taste, didn’t add anything extra to the plate.
- Fruits (strawberries and pears): Fruits add sweetness to the platter and pair well with the cheeses. They help wash away the strong taste of the cheese and leave a fresh aftertaste. Strawberries worked better than the pears, because they are softer and sweeter but both of them added a nice tone to the cheeses.
- Cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes had the same result as the fruits. They added extra freshness and sweetness to the whole dish. On the other hand I wouldn’t recommend sun-dried tomatoes. Their oily texture and the concentrated flavor covers the taste of the cheese and they do not pair well together.
- Walnuts and Olives: Adding them to the platter lead to a nice surprise. Their taste was a break between the strong flavors of the cheeses and the fruits. The walnuts specifically accompanied the Munster-Gerome really nicely. I’m glad that I had some in my kitchen.
- Prosciutto and pickles: I wanted to add something meaty to the platter and prosciutto was the first thing that came into my mind. Eating the prosciutto together with cheese didn’t have the results that I expected, but a small piece between the different pieces really helped to contrast the cheese flavors. The same happened with the pickles. Both help prepare the palette for the next cheesy taste in a very different way.
- Wine: Yes, wine is really important in a cheese platter. The French got that right! I selected two different wines (for scientific purpose). The first one was an Italian Nero d’Avola. Although it has a fruity flavor, it was a bit rough when paired with the cheeses. The second one was a port wine. The sweet and fruity taste accompanied the cheese perfectly.
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