Inner Chef

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Cheese 101 (How to choose the right cheese for your trays_

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Many of us like to put out veggie, fruit or cheese trays for our guests during the holidays.
Here are some cheese tips you may find interesting and useful.


Aged Cheddar: Semi-firm cheese that becomes sharper and more granular and crumbly when aged. Best served with apples and pears.




Brie:  Soft, ripened cheese. This has a mild flavor with a rich and creamy texture. Best served with melon, grapes and berries.


Photo: ifoodtv

Photo: ifoodtv

Colby:  Semi-firm cheese with a mild flavor and is softer than cheddar. Best served with apples and pears.




Gouda:  Semi-soft cheese with a light and buttery flavor with a creamy, smooth texture. Best served with peaches, melon, apricots and cherries.


Photo: hotshotwood

Photo: hotshotwood

Havarti: Semi-soft cheese with a buttery and creamy, slightly acidic flavor with a smooth, supple texture. Best with plums and grapes.





  1. Cheeses often absorb aromas and flavors from other foods, including other cheeses. Wrap each variety of cheese separately.
  2. When buying cheese, check the aroma, appearance and if possible, the flavor. Good cheese is free from interior cracks, discoloration, and mold (unless it’s a blue-veined cheese) and should not smell like sour milk or ammonia.
  3. Once opened, store soft cheese for about 1 week and hard cheese for about 3 to 4 months in the fridge.
  4. Serve fresh cheese slightly chilled. For other varieties, remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
  5. For pretty platters, label cheeses and set out separate knives for each one. Serve with baguette slices, crackers, toasted or candied nuts or dried figs.




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