Spread & Co. Co-owner Rosemary Ewald shares her favorite cheesy tips.
By Rosemary Ewald, Photos by Julia Keim
MIX IT UP.
Don’t discriminate! You want to have a range of different milks (i.e., cow, sheep, goat, water buffalo, maybe a mixed milk cheese), textures, flavor, etc. At Spread & Co., we usually like to use a soft, bloomy-rind cheese; a blue; an approachable cheddar and a semi-firm cheese or Alpine cheese.
A few of our favorites include:
CKC Farms’ Baby Blue
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company’s Bay Blue
Jasper Hill Farm’s Bayley Hazen Blue
Carr Valley Cheese Company’s Penta Creme
Milton Creamery’s Flory’s Truckle
Parish Hill Creamery’s Reverie
Soft and Bloomy
Sweet Grass Dairy’s Green Hill
Tulip Tree Creamery’s Trillium
THINK OUTSIDE THE RIND.
Beyond the obvious items (cheese), we also like to add charcuterie, nuts, fresh fruit, jams, mustards, honey, pickles and dehydrated fruits. Charcuterie—essentially cured meats from different parts of the animal—range widely in tastes and textures, anything from a soft pate de foie gras to a hard salami. We usually like to use salami and prosciutto because they’re both delicious and easy to work with, but I must note that I am a huge fan of pates, which consist of cooked meat, oftentimes liver, that is blended with fat, wine, herbs and spices, then pureed into a spreadable paste. They are so decadent and wonderful and will definitely add an extra boost of refinement and sophistication to your plate.
Something we get asked all the time is, “What pairs best with what?” It’s important to note fresh food will always have the fullest flavors and create the most enjoyable pairings. Spread & Co. is unique in the fact that we make all our pickles, jams, mustards and dehydrated fruits from scratch to ensure maximum freshness and happy taste buds.
A few tried-and-true pairings:
soft and bloomy cheeses + berry jam
blue cheese + dark chocolate
aged cheeses + nuts
washed rinds, smelly cheeses and cheddars + pickles and whole-grain mustard
To make things short and simple: Don’t be scared! Try out different combinations because really there are no rules for pairing. If it tastes good to you, then it works. Place things that pair well together in close vicinity on the board, mix up flavors and textures, break up different colors and you’re good to go.
DON’T OVERDO IT.
How much cheese and charcuterie should you lay out per person? We usually go by 1.5 ounces and .75 ounce of cheese and charcuterie, respectively, per person (or about 2 to 2.5 ounces combined). But there are no rules here either. It just depends on how hungry your guests are or whether you’re serving other food later on.
WARM IT UP.
Remember, cheese is best served at room temperature. Bring your board out of the fridge about an hour before serving. This way, you’ll be sure to get all the good flavors.
Enjoy! And let us know where your charcuterie adventures take you.