Ah, the holidays, a time for friends and family! A time to… eat! Yes, of course we love all of the good feelings associated with this time of year. But, we have to admit, we’re pretty psyched to just stuff our faces. After all, we’re just a couple of fat kids at heart. And you know what, we’re not afraid to admit it! Why would we be? Good food is one of the greatest enjoyments of life, and the holiday season has tasty dishes and special treats on every corner of the calendar.
And if you’re a foodie and it’s the holidays, than you’re probably pretty pumped for a good cheese plate. We seriously have a cheese obsession. A good cheese board is one of Jess’s go-to apps to bring to a party. Cheese is always a crowd pleaser! But, what we learned last year from the cheese gurus, Wasik’s The Cheese Shop , located on Central Street in Wellesley, is that cheese is like a produce. Consider cheese a living and breathing fruit or vegetable; certain cheeses are “in season” at different times of the year.
Given that there are a number of cheeses that are at their peak right now, we asked Brad Wasik what five cheeses they recommend for a balanced and yummy cheese plate. Brad was gracious enough to give us a very tasty list: we can’t wait to head into the shop and order this cheese board for our next holiday party!
Vacherin Mont D’Or
Brad tells us this pretty little golden baby, with a dusted white top just like the Swiss Alps where it is made, is a “holy grail” of cheese. The cow’s milk beauty comes wrapped in its very own spruce bark to keep it’s creamy (soup-like) interior from oozing out. (We hope we have you at least starting to drool at this point.) Ina Garten’s new cookbook has a recipe where she bakes it and serves it with Alsatian whites or a good red Burgundy.
Brie a la Truffle
Dear Lord, if this isn’t in heaven, we don’t want to go! Brie cheese? Truffle cream? Not only are we drooling, but we’re totally Homer Simpsoning out! This hearty Brie De Meaux, made from cow’s milk, has been elegantly filled with a decadent truffle cream. Brad tells us without a doubt champagne is the pairing of choice. We. Want. Now.
Just take a gander at this handsome Reserve Comte cheese! Made from cow’s milk, this super special gruyere hails from the French side of the Alps and spends over 18 months hanging out before anyone even touches it. The result of aging the cheese? A flavor profile of nutty, sweet, and salty that truly resembles a “taste of place.” As Brad tells us, you can picture the high-mountain pastures with each bite. Looking for the ideal wine pairing? Mr. Wasik recommends either a French or California Chardonnay will do!
Goudden Kaas Reserve
Brad shared this wonderful Goudden Kaas Reserve cow’s milk cheese from Holland. He told us, “This is our house aged Gouda and an absolute workhorse; a cheese that everyone loves!” His description of the cheese got us pretty excited too, “nutty, fruity, salty, and sweet with crystalline nuggets of satisfying cheese bliss.” Wow, cheese bliss is right. The best part? This go-to cheese goes with everything! From warmer winter beers, to martinis, to sparkling wine, this Gouda hasn’t met a cocktail it doesn’t like. (And neither have we. 😉 )
Coston Bassett Farmhouse Stilton
We saved the classic holiday cheese for last. Brad calls this Coston Basset Farmhouse Stilton the “King of All Blue Cheeses.” It is sourced directly for Wasik’s from the farm by Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. We could stare at that gorgeous blue veining all day. Actually, that’s not true. We’re pretty sure we’d be enjoying it with a glass of port immediately upon inspection! Brad does agree this cheese is the perfect accompaniment for your after-dinner port.
Now, you’ll excuse us as we hop in our car and head straight to Wasik’s to enjoy some of these fine cheeses. 😉 If you’ve never been to Wasik’s, their homemade Curry Chutney Apricot Cheese Spread is worth the trip alone.
A HUGE thanks to Brad Wasik for his insight and great descriptions.
Happy Holidays – may your hearts and bellies stay full and warm this holiday season.