When planning your family’s holiday gathering this season, Wisconsin Cheese makes a great party food. Flavorful and versatile, it can be used as a snack, as an ingredient in your favorite recipe or paired with a favorite beverage. Choosing the right cheese is essential when planning it into your holiday affair. Do you find yourself asking, “How do I choose the right cheese for my holiday party?”
- When purchasing cheese, be sure the packaging is sealed properly, without any openings or tears that expose the cheese.
- The cheese should have a fresh, clean appearance with no cracks or surface mold.
- Buy cheese at a store or market where frequent shipments of fresh cheese are delivered.
- Check the “use by” or “sell by” dates on packaged cheese.
- If buying fresh-cut cheese, ask the clerk how best to wrap the cheese for storage, as well as how long the cheese can be kept.
- Fresh cheeses are rich and creamy, and high in moisture content, perfect when used as a spread or dip, paired with floral wines or even green tea.
– Try Mascarpone, Ricotta, Feta or Fresh Mozzarella
- Soft-ripened cheeses often have a white rind and creamy interior. They are delicious at room temperature and warm from the oven with fruity beer or a smooth red wine.
– Try Brie, Camembert, and Les Frères
- Blue-veined cheeses, popular for their distinct, piquant flavor, are perfectly paired with peppery and smoky accompaniments, and spicy gins or rich red wines.
– Try Blue and Gorgonzola
- Semi-soft cheeses, known for their melt-in-your-mouth texture, and often infused with herbs, are perfect with vegetables, in baked dishes, and with a fruity wine or lager.
– Try Fontina, Havarti, Muenster and Monterey Jack
- Hispanic-style cheeses vary in texture and are wonderful in appetizers and alongside a pilsner or sparkling wine.
– Try Queso Fresco, Asadero and Cojita
- Semi-hard cheeses, firmer cheeses that boast a creamy finish, are extremely versatile cheeses that pair beautifully with both sweet and savory dishes and ciders, pale ales and stouts.
– Try Cheddar, Gruyère, Swiss, Gouda and Edam
- Hard cheeses, low in moisture content and crumbly in texture, are usually well aged, sharp and nutty, and delicious with fruity wines like Riesling and Prosecco.
– Try Asiago, Parmesan, Romano and Aged Cheddar
For more tips on handling, cutting and trimming, and storing cheese, visit our Cheese 101 page.