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Holiday Cheese Picks

Posted by Merritt Steidl, deli category analyst
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tis the season for holiday cheese! Specialty cheese is elegant, festive, and a delicious addition to any party. And, with so many options to choose from, there is something to please every crowd. Here are a few of my favorite cheese-based appetizer ideas for the year. Enjoy!

  1. Lunds and Byerly’s Brie Topped with Gracious Gourmet Sour Cherry Spread – Arrange a few wedges artfully on your serving plate and spread Gracious Gourmet Cherry Spread generously over each piece. It’s simple and festive with the bright red cherries. I’d serve this with a side of Marcona almonds and my favorite crackers, Raincoast Crisps.
  2. BellaVitano Raspberry and Espresso Cheese Tray – I love these cheeses because they are delicious and local. BellaVitano is an award-winning cheese that’s made in Wisconsin and inspired by farmstead Italian cheese. It tastes like a creamy mix of parmesan and cheddar. The raspberry variety has been soaked in Raspberry Tart Ale, and the espresso variety is rubbed with freshly ground espresso. For a knockout cheese tray, serve with fresh berries and dark chocolate. 
  3. Emmi Swiss Emmentaler and Cave-Aged Gruyere Fondue – The social nature of fondue makes it a fun addition to any party. And don’t feel like you need a fondue set, any old pan will do. One of my favorite fondue recipes is the traditional Swiss one from our Lunds and Byerly’s chefs. However, if you’re feeling creative, try experimenting with your own cheese mixtures. Smooth, semi-firm cheeses work best. (It’s more difficult to get a creamy textured fondue with crumbly and hard cheeses.) Beer, wine and cream all work as the liquid component. Fondue is not just food, it’s an event!
  4. Cranberry and Pistachio Goat Cheese Ball – Here’s my modern twist on an old favorite. It’s easy to make and a colorful addition to any holiday table. (If you don’t have the time to make your own, we have homemade cheddar cheese balls with fruits and nuts available in our delis.)

9-11 ounces plain or honey goat cheese
2/3 cup pistachios, toasted, finely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, finely minced (less if you don’t want a strong rosemary flavor)

In a large bowl, mix goat cheese, pistachios and cranberries. Roll the cheese mixture into a ball, then roll in rosemary to coat the outside.

Tags: holidaybriecheeseappetizers

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