How to Make Your Lover a Cheese Board

To celebrate my first month devoted to eating American cheese every week for a whole year, I threw a little cheese soiree at my house for dear friends. It was such a luscious night, and it was so easy to pull together,  that I thought I’d share a few tips. Maybe you’d like to explore some dairy dreamies with your friends and loved ones. After all, Valentine’s Day draws near.

And, lovers, is there really a more beautiful love letter than cheese? My cheese-sister Fromagetrice posted recently about how Marlene Dietrich liked to send her lovers a silk stocking. Cheeky. I, however, prefer a diamond-crystalline Gouda. Or a purrr-inducing triple creme. Here are some lovely ideas for gifting cheese to friends, family, or a burning crush.

Tempting Combinations

Go big and gift your lover a huge hunk of their favorite cheese. This gift says, “There’s beauty in largesse!” It also says, “Let’s eat this cheese together for a longggg time.” If you’re new at this, purchase 2 pounds of a hard cheese — it will last several months in the fridge. If you’re in a spendy mood, add a divine pairing.

Try this: Grab a grand hunk of aged Gouda, like Laclare Family Creamery’s Evalon pictured above, which is a beautiful Wisconsin cheese made from goat’s milk. Nestle it in a basket with dark chocolate, pistachios, and oranges. What could possibly brighten your lover’s day more?

Plan a cheese night for your lover with their favorite libation. Say your bae likes a certain kind of wine or beer? Pick up a few bottles and a few cheeses, then arrange them seductively on the table. Or the night stand. Not sure what pairs together? Fear not. This plan is all about exploration. Feed your soulmate a bite of this and a sip of that. They won’t care whether your pairings are perfect. But if you want some guidance…

Try this: Bubbles go well with triple cremes, so grab some sparkling wine and a soft local bloomy, along with some berries, jams, and oat crackers. Or go for a Normandy Cider and a lush square of Nancy’s Camembert, and set it out along with some walnuts and sliced apples. For those malty beers, Gouda styles and Alpines are always real fine alongside candied nuts and dried fruit. Hoppy beers adore cheddars and blues. Now, if he likes a mineral-y white, prepare a trio of goat cheeses and silky honey. If she insists on red, bring her some firm sheep’s milk cheeses and olives in bed.

Invite beloved friends over for a “cheese table.” There’s no better way to learn about cheese than by tasting a wide range all at once, preferably with people you simply adore. And let’s be clear: most people love being invited to a cheese party, so hosting a cheese table for Valentine’s will only earn more fondness. Provide a few cheeses and ask your friends to bring some. It helps to pick a theme you want to explore (cheddars, blues, sheep’s milk cheeses, Spanish cheeses, etc.). For me, it’s all about artisan American cheeses right now, so why don’t you just steal the idea and show some love to the home team?

Try this: run a long piece of parchment down the center of your kitchen table or coffee table. Set out markers for labeling each cheese. When guests arrive, arrange all the hunks in a zig-zaggy line from soft to hard. Start with the soft cheeses. Taste the cheeses together. Pour libations. I always recommend lighter styles of wines and beers (you want the flavors of the cheese to shine). At my last cheese table, we focused on hard ciders, which were so much fun to play with. And because ciders tend to be low ABV, we all felt like millions of buck$ the next morning.

Buy one impossibly beautiful cheese and enjoy it all by yourself. If you’re the kind of person who always buys the same old hunk at the store, strike out and take a little risk on a gorgeous rind, like something bound in spruce bark or a wrinkly rinded goat cheese. You don’t need to share it with anyone. Sometimes I covet cheese, and I find it very decadent to crawl into bed with a book, a snifter of something spirituous, and an unctuous little cheese.

Try this: Below, you’ll find my latest, greatest infatuation: Firefly Spruce Reserve. I hesitate to tell you about it because it is hard to find at the moment (although you can order it online from Firefly!). Here’s what I want you to know. We are entering a cheese eclipse, after which bark-bound cheeses will be harder to find (they’re seasonal, usually limited to fall and winter). So, run to a good cheese shop and demand a bark-wrapped cheese. Di Bruno Bros. — my local shop — is running a special on Winnimere (a real tease of a cheese) through February. Look for it if you live in Philly. Or look for one like it, i.e. Rush Creek, Harbison, or perhaps there’s a bark-bound honey made by a local maker in your region. Bark is in fashion. When you taste it, you’ll know why.

~

Looking for Philadelphia food events? I’ve updated my event page at long last. Forgive me. You can find me at the Prince Theater on Feb. 7 and at Bierfest for a cheese tasting on Feb. 24. Both are ticketed events.

Wondering why I’m stuck on American cheese? Read my last post about the American Cheese Project I committed to on January 1. Follow along on Instagram (@mmefromage).

Want more cheese knowledge? I recently ran across a boatload of posts I wrote for Di Bruno Bros. back when I had more time to freelance for my local cheese shop. There’s a beautifully organized archive right here!

Have I told you how much I love you? It’s true. Thanks for following along.  

Full disclosure: Evalon and Firefly’s Spruce Reserve were given to me as samples for the photos in this post. Most of the time, however, I spend ridiculous amounts of my own money on cheese.  

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  1. […] your love this Valentine’s Day by pampering your partner with this delectable platter decked out with the perfect pairings by MadameFromage herself.  […]



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