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Old 11-16-2007, 09:27 AM   #1
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Welcome back the cheese course!

Okay, maybe it never left....but it seems to finally be making a long anticipated reappearance here in America. Within the last 3 years, I've noticed that more upscale ($30 entree/plate) restaurants are offering cheese courses again, either before dessert, before the entree or in place of dessert. Several years ago, I had the great fortune to dine at Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia. That was the first time I'd seen such a serious cheese course. Although we were all heady with wines consumed with dinner, I recall how lovingly the waiter described the origins and flavours of each cheese...all 20 of them. At that point, I was hooked.

Since then, I've dined in a few places where it's been offered, usually with 6 selections to choose from. Recently, I hosted a dinner party, offering a cheese course before the dessert course. I choose 3 cow's milk cheeses, 2 sheep's milk and one goat's milk cheese. They varied from very soft to firm, with as equal a variety of flavours.

It was difficult to decide on a wine to pair with this course. I could pair a wine with each cheese, or I could simply attempt to pair with cheese, in general. That's what I opted to do with a pinot gris, which had a palate cleansing effect. It was very clean and crisp, a perfect choice. I was amazed at how well the course was received, too. I feared that my guests wouldn't appreciate the flavours, especially since it was the fourth course, and the fourth type of wine. Was I ever wrong! The cheese that remained on the platter after the course wasn't even enough for the mouse in 'Twas the night before Christmas'. The course was a huge success.

I spent an hour in the cheese shop (DiBruno Bros) in Philadelphia. The sales associate was more than happy to spend that kind of time, offering samples of each cheese he presented. I took notes, so I'd be able to offer the same descriptions to my guests. The course was fun, tasty and educational at the same time. My suggestion is to serve a cheese course at some point to guests. They'll love it. Ultimately, it would be best if you can shop in a specialty cheese shop. You'll get more personalized service than simply buying cheese wrapped in plastic at the supermarket.

So....anyone else in love with the cheese course? Please share!

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Old 11-16-2007, 10:05 AM   #2
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My wife and I went out for a romantic dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Tomasso Trattoria. They offer a cheese course and it was something I was looking very forward to. Unfortunately, we were way too stuffed to get it when the time came. I believe they did have about 6 cheeses that they served and they sounded amazing. We promised each other that we would go back there for just drinks and cheese someday.

I love cheese and am thrilled that the cheese course is making a comeback.
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:33 AM   #3
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Okay, maybe it never left....

It never left my house! If there's a cheese course on a menu, you can be sure I'm ordering it. We stayed at Auberge du Vieux-Port in Montreal this year. They had an incredible cheese course, featuring Quebec cheeses. The A****er Market had at least two specialty cheese stores. They were very helpful in providing information about the cheeses, and more importantly, samples.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:19 PM   #4
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Loprraine, what did you post that got *** out?
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:25 PM   #5
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It's the name of the market. Let's try again. a****er
That didn't work. Separated into two words. At water
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:28 PM   #6
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ROFLMAO!!! OK, I can see how that one got caught.
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
My wife and I went out for a romantic dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Tomasso Trattoria. They offer a cheese course and it was something I was looking very forward to. Unfortunately, we were way too stuffed to get it when the time came. I believe they did have about 6 cheeses that they served and they sounded amazing. We promised each other that we would go back there for just drinks and cheese someday.

I love cheese and am thrilled that the cheese course is making a comeback.
See, that was my fear when serving the course. I thought everyone would be simply too gorged to fit even a simple wafer... Yet, the entire course was devoured. When I want to enjoy the cheese course at a restaurant, I'll forego dessert, opting for a nice cognac instead.
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Loprraine View Post
Okay, maybe it never left....

It never left my house! If there's a cheese course on a menu, you can be sure I'm ordering it. We stayed at Auberge du Vieux-Port in Montreal this year. They had an incredible cheese course, featuring Quebec cheeses. The A****er Market had at least two specialty cheese stores. They were very helpful in providing information about the cheeses, and more importantly, samples.
Do you recall what you drank with the course?
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Old 11-16-2007, 05:06 PM   #9
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Well, unfortunately, I don't. I know it was one they recommended. I kept great track of the names of the cheeses etc, but not the wine. I do have pictures of the glass! ( We took lots of pics of the different presentations etc). The good news, we're going back right after New Year's. I'll see what they recommend, and report back. I'm kind of old fashioned, I love Port with cheese. I've never really thought of pairing it with different wines.

" I'll forego dessert, opting for a nice cognac instead. "

Me too. In Quebec, it's been popular for years. Maybe because they really promote their artisinal cheeses. It's a standard here. With maybe just a bit of dessert.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:18 AM   #10
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I love port, but usually pair it with chocolate. The port seems to fill my mouth so much, I think it would 'coat' it, masking the flavours of the cheeses. When you go back to this place, see if they have a wine that is crisp and dry...or try something that has the flavour of nuts coming through. I think you'll like it.
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