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Old 08-17-2009, 06:48 PM   #1
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Cheese and Fruit?

Hey everyone, long-time lurker, brand new poster here, but I've got a bit of a question I thought the folks here would be able to help out with.

My wife and I are going to be hosting some people from the neighborhood over at our house. We've come across a sort of "If you give a mouse a cookie" situation. You see, we planned on making sure we had a decent selection of wines, but then we needed some gourmet cheese to go with it. Well then we couldn't have just cheese. We need fruit, crackers, etc. So my question -- well, our question actually -- is this: what have you found to work really well in this sort of situation? For instance, we know which wines go with which cheese, but we're not sure which fruits go with which cheese. Hmm...

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Old 08-17-2009, 07:44 PM   #2
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Hmmm...well, not sure where you are, but here we have several fruits in season. Melons just came in last week, and those might be good for a fruit tray. They'll be OK out in the air for a while in their cut-up form, they're colorful, and they're tasty. Your local farmers market will have the freshest melons and they may have some interesting varieties! Peaches and firm blackberries would work too and would add some interest. The tricky part would be getting peaches that are ripe but not too messy-juicy. My favorite fruit with sharp cheese is an apple, but those brown so quickly unless they're tossed with an acid that changes the taste of them, so they're not always such a good match for a fruit tray.

Good luck with your party! Sounds fun. :)
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:14 PM   #3
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Grapes, sliced apples, fresh pineapple spears, pears and fresh figs are ones I can think of.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:27 PM   #4
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Green grapes and swiss cheese are wonderful together!

Keep in mind that the fruit you use in this setting needs to be easy to eat without creating embarrassing 'dribbles' for your guests. Fruits that are in their own bite-sized package, like grapes and berries are easy to manage. Fruits that can be cut into manageable chunks and will retain their proper color while sitting on a platter with a spear in it will also work. Fresh pineapple chunks fit into this category.

You don't want fruits that will turn brown as the evening goes on, like apples and pears. Your fruit plate can look pretty sad after a while. Most stone fruits are just too juicy to manage without a mess.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:39 PM   #5
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You might also consider pitted dates stuffed with goat cheese or mascarpone. (Some use almonds, as well. I prefer not.) Always a winner appetizer.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:07 PM   #6
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Oh see now your talking my language!! I LOVE cheese.

If anyone wants to walk on the old world European side try this place...

Carr Valley Cheese Company, Inc., La Valle, Wisconsin

Every year (sometimes twice!) I drive the 250 miles to the dairy and just go nuts. I never walk out of there with less than $200 worth.

Ok, any sharp craves sweet. If you really want to counter some sharp cheese I would go with a fruit preserve. Apricot, peach, white grape...

Apples go well with mild sharps; cheddars, Double Gloucester, Edams...

Grapes go well with smoked cheeses; Gouda, swiss, cheddar.

Plums, dried cranberries and dried blueberries go with everything; Brie is particularly nice with dried cranberries.

In additions to the fruits you should put out an array of nuts. I don't think I need to go into why.

Please please please please serve your cheese at room temperature. If you are worried about drying, cover with a dome of somekind. When I set up a cheese day at work (yes, I set up cheese tastings at work) I use cheapie plastic saverbowls from Aldi to act as plate and cover. Then, when it's time to clean up I just flip and seal.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:11 PM   #7
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Almost forgot!!! Get plenty of cheese slicing or cutting impliments. Why? Slice only a few pieces of cheese and then place a cutter near the cheese and allow guests to slice their own. The cheese stays more appealing in the chunk. Sliced cheese has a tendency to get a little funky.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:56 AM   #8
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Bigdaddy3K, what cheese would you recommend to go with a very sweet item such as pickled watermelon rind? (A holiday favorite of mine and my family.) In case you've never had any, is a level of sweetness similar to a pickled Gerkin and is found in the same grocery section as pickled peppers, onions, etc.

I love cheese, fruit and wines, but I have no idea how to pair them for the best effect.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silversage View Post
You don't want fruits that will turn brown as the evening goes on, like apples and pears. Your fruit plate can look pretty sad after a while. Most stone fruits are just too juicy to manage without a mess.
Apples and pears wont turn brown if you pre-treat them with lemon or lime juice.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:22 AM   #10
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What's more important, the fruit or the wine? I love cheese and wine, like cheese and fruit, don't like wine and fruit. Wine merchants in France have a saying: "sell on cheese, buy on an apple".

If I were in your position, I'd just serve an assortment of nice crackers with the cheese and wine.
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