More and more, the food industry is seeing a rise in popularity of fine ethnic products such as gourmet cheese. Cheese and wine pairings are now appreciated by the general public, instead of just those interested in haute cuisine or culinary experiences of French influence. Artisan cheese options differ from country to country. Cheese can be defined as a food made of milk, available in a wide range of flavors, textures, colors, and shapes. It can be flavored by smoking, use of spices and/or herbs, and aging, as well as the base ingredients such as the type of milk it is made from. Whether or not the milk is pasteurized and the fat content, are also flavor-determining factors in cheese. Some regions and companies around the world have produced cheeses that have inspired copycats in other countries; cheddar cheese, originally British, is a classic example. Cheese connoiseurs have an unlimited number of options for exploring the many varieties available, since almost every country in the world has a few different types of cheeses that are their own. Though fancy cheese and artisan cheese can be pricey food purchases, the umami flavors and culinary flexibility they provide make them ideal for expanding the dairy restaurant menu.
Learning about Gourmet Cheese
Traditionally served on a wooden cheese plate with a special cheese knife, restaurant cheese platters can be an elegant display of the chef’s knowledge and skills in pairing wine and cheese. Artisan cheese can be used in hot dairy restaurant dishes as well. Brie is great in sandwiches or as a stuffing in puff pastry. Parmesan adds intense flavor to pasta dishes, and is delicious enough to stand on its own as part of a wine and cheese course. Homemade cheese kits are available, allowing fancy cheese flavors to be invented by the chef and personalized for the restaurant cheese options. Cheese making requires background knowledge about the process of making cheese and the factors which affect the flavor of the product. Various websites such as cheese.com are great places to start the research process that precedes cheese making. Other sites sell the rennet and other chemicals, which allow the milk to consolidate to become cheese. Cheese making rarely happens in restaurants. Businesses that offer a wine and cheese course can make themselves extremely unique by combining gourmet cheese from around the world, local artisanal cheese, and homemade cheese. Fancy cheese can be extremely pricey, sometimes surpassing the price of meats. Offering a balance of higher end and lower end gourmet cheese, along with some homemade cheese, on a cheese platter, can lower the costs of the platter overall.
Wine and Cheese
Having a chef that knows wine and cheese, or a good sommelier can help ensure that customers will be maximally satisfied with a restaurant cheese platter. By offering and interesting assortment of high end gourmet cheese, artisanal cheese, and homemade cheese, restaurants can lower their food costs and draw cheese connoisseurs interested in sampling something new. With a little research and sampling, restaurants can be well on their way to creating beautiful and delicious restaurant cheese platters and dairy restaurant dishes.