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   Cheese Experts Provide Tips On Pairing
by Pamela Silvestri,
Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 10:07AM EST

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- My cheese addiction started about 30 years ago.

It started with a sampling of rich, buttery brie — a river of creamy goodness — slathered over Carr’s water crackers. Eventually I crossed paths with Gruyere— you know, the stuff with which a good chef finishes onion soup made from slow-roasted veal stock — and moved up to Taleggio, the stinkiest of all the stinky cheeses. Taleggio, I have learned, is so magnificently potent, it is not safe to bring to work.

Condensed cheese advice here comes from personal cheese encounters and pairings with the likes of quince paste, olives, fruits and spirits. Some lessons learned so far along the way: When cheese and artichokes or asparagus meet, the combination clashes with wine. (That’s just the nature of the vegetables though, not the cheese.) Briny cheeses like feta go well with earthy produce like steamed beets and sautéed fresh spinach. Good quality blue cheeses make the perfect complement to fatty foods like a sizzling ribeye steak just out of the broiler or mashed into unsalted butter to yield a stellar compound butter.

Go nuts taste pairings

Michael Blum, a cheese expert for Beemster in The Netherlands, comes from a family of cheesemongers. Beemster is the only cooperative in Holland that hand-produces cheese. He thinks a cheese board — a combination of carefully chosen fromages with accouterments — is the quintessential showpiece.

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