Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A Cheesy Post With A Cheesy Title

Well, my fellow connoisseur du fromage and I catered a small event over this past weekend with great success. Not only is she a great help with the small touches that I would normally overlook (we had little give-aways of Balsamic Reduction for the guests of the dinner party) but she was also invaluable in helping me with plating, tasting, cleaning and prepping. In fact, she visualized the Tomato Salad which was what we ended up going with in the end. She also made up a small menu to give to the guests. Here is what it looked like when I copied and pasted it:

Chef’s Amuse


Potage Crecy au Chèvre


Roma Tomato Salad with Bocconcini

& Balsamic Reduction


Filet Mignon with Molten Gorgonzola Mousse,

Thyme-scented Broccoli & Chesire Potato Purée


Sélection de Fromage

Queso Manchego, Oka Québécois,

Yorkshire Wensleydale with Cranberries


Milk Chocolate Pyramids in Phyllo

It looked much better on a little menu.

The party went extremely well. In case you're wondering, the Amuse was a Lobster Watermelon Salsa on an Endive. I was pretty happy with it, but next time I know how to make it unbelievable.

The next time you have a party, a cheese selection is highly recommended. You can do them in advance and use it for in between meals. Besides, 99 people out of 100, love cheese. Every once in a while, somebody is a vegan or lactose intolerant. Very rare when somebody simply dislikes cheese.

You can go with simple, local cheese with plain crackers. Or, go with some imported selections that you really like. One thing to keep in mind is to have a variety of flavours, textures and colours. I really like the aged cheddar with Guinness because it has great contrasting colours and because most people really enjoy it. Have one soft, ripened cheese like brie or camembert. Maybe a hard ripened cheese like Manchego, Edam, Gouda. I love blue cheeses myself, I usually go with Gorgonzola or of the like when I compose my platters. Don't use unripened cheese (mozzarella, feta, ricotta) because they aren't the classiest. Goat's cheese is usually a favourite

As for garnishes, you can do whatever you like: dried apricots or cranberries, fresh figs, dates, grapes, apple slices, pistachios, walnuts, whatever. Make sure it is a palate cleanser whatever it is. Grapes are basically a must. It the photo I used cranberries soaked in red wine and grapes.

Crackers are up to you. Going with crostini is a nice touch but nobody will begrudge you if you simply go with the store bought artisan crackers. Crostini is just a baguette cut into small circles with your flavours of choice: garlic cloves rubbed on, sprinkle some chopped parsley, olive oil or butter, whatever.

A Humble Chef`s tip: Be sure to have the cheeses at room temp. Otherwise, your brie will taste pretty much like butter.

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