Ever wondered what makes the perfectly balanced cheese platter? Today, we’re sharing some tips and tricks to achieve that in less than 10 minutes! This is a sponsored post on behalf of Castello Alps.
When it comes to summer get togethers, we really don’t have time for them. Both M and I work 14-16 hours a day, six days a week with only Monday nights for date night together. Sometimes we go into Edgartown and dine at the newest restaurants and other times we stick around the house with our two housemates and make food. This past Monday, seeing the opportunity that we had three – 1/4 wheels of Castello Alps Selection cheeses in the fridge, I decided to prepare a cheese platter for us to enjoy will relaxing with a few local beers.
Castello Alps Selection are three traditional cheeses made with milk from cows raised on small mountain farms in the Alps. Each farm is over two thousand feet above sea level and host less than 20 cows each. The relaxing milking process and the fresh alpine pastures give the cheeses unique flavors. Each cheese is the ripened with a different process, to obtain the texture and flavors we observed in the varieties.
Castello Alps Selection Cheeses
As much cheese as I’ve eaten, no one better than Castello Alps themselves to share with you the flavor profiles and inside information on how each cheese is processed. The information below is taken directly from the Castello Alps website, with my personal thoughts in bold.
Castello® Alps Selection Weissbier: has a soft, smooth consistency that melts in the mouth. The taste is buttery, with a faint bitterness from the Bavarian Weissbier and a hint of nutty sweetness. Pair Weissbier with its namesake, Bavarian Weissbier, or serve with a white wine like Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Try it with grilled vegetables, fennel, or baked figs. Or take your favorite sandwich to a new level by melting a slice of Weissbier on top! Castello® Weissbier is wiped with Weissbier from the oldest operating brewery in Germany (since 1456) 3 times per week during its 10 to 12 week ripening. This was the perfect cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich. It melts perfectly and has a nuttiness that we loved. The favorite of the three, it was the softest of the hard cheeses we sampled and paired well with a summer ale.
Castello® Alps Selection Hirten: has a deep orange colour and a crumbly, dry texture encrusted with small crystals. The cheese has a rich, sharp, complex taste; a slightly sweet caramel overtone, with a hint of pine. Hirten pairs perfectly with a lager, or serve with a full-bodied red like Rioja or Tempranillo. If white wine is preferred, serve with a white Bourgogne or Sauvignon Blanc. Cut very thin slices (like Parmesan) and use it in your favorite pasta or salad. Castello® Hirten matures for 7 months in cheese cellars at 72°F (22°C) and about 2 months at 42-46°F (6-8°C) at 80% humidity in order to achieve its unique flavor and consistency. A great hard cheese to be the focal point of a cheese platter, this cheese breaks into shards of thin, sharp caramel hints laced in the rich taste.
Castello® Alps Selection Bergkase: has a firm texture and a smooth dry consistency. It has a slightly smoky aroma, like a fine smoked ham. A touch of spice emerges through a hint of mountain herbs. Pair with a lager or brown ale, or, if wine is preferred, a full-bodied red like Rioja or Tempranillo. Bergkase goes perfectly on a cheese board on with fresh-baked bread, or try it with baked onions, sun-dried tomatoes or prosciutto. Castello® Bergkase is based on Oberstdorfer Bergkäse, which is a cheese with Protected Geographical Origin status. Our Bergkase matures for a minimum of 2 months at 55°F (13°C) at about 98% humidity in order to get the very special flavor and consistency right. A spiciness gives this cheese its uniqueness – we tried it in a Mornay sauce, where it brought out the mountain herbs from the milk of the Alps crafted in this cheese.
What makes up a great cheese platter…other than great cheese?
Jams and Jellies: serve up small dishes of your favorite jellies to accompany the cheeses. From sweet jams to savory and spicy ones, jams and jellies lend a new texture and balance the tanginess of the cheeses. Here we tasted the Castello Alps Selection with a local Cape Cod Cranberry Garlic Jelly and a Ghost Pepper & Peach Preserve.
Nuts: some of the best nuts for a cheese platter include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts. Add diversity by slicing them or roasting them to bring out their flavors and oils. Scatter around the platter.
Dried Fruit: the chewy, fruitiness of dried fruits like prunes, apricots, and figs create great variety in a cheese platter. We love un-sulfered dried fruits, such as these dried apricots.
Charcuterie: cured and smoked meats create appealing shapes in the platter. Delicate strands of salty, fatty prosciutto tend to pair well with cheeses like the deep orange Hirten. Salame, speck, pate, and sausage come to mind as some favorite additions.
Crackers and Crisps: where else are you going to transport your cheese from platter to your mouth?! A thin, crispy cracker or cookie proves to be the best vessel. Nothing too overwhelming and our current favorites comes from Salem Baking Company. On the platter we used Ginger Spice and Meyer Lemon Cookies.
Fresh Fruit: to cleanse your palate, nothing better then some fresh grapes, strawberries, or blackberries. Fresh berries, as well as apple and pear slices go great with cheese, so try some of your favorite fruits scattered around the platter!
Win a Private Cheese Tasting in your own home – enter by clicking on the banner below. Castello Moments and this post is a collaboration between the blogger and Arla Foods USA.