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The Monthly (Not So) Monger: Scary Dairy edition

This article marks the introduction of cheese to the Hawk Herald. To get things started I’d like to introduce myself and share why you should be interested in cheese. 

Other than my occupation as a high school student, for over a year now I’ve been working at a grocery store called “Kingmas,” specifically in the cheese department. My department does all the slicing, sealing, and serving up of cheese. After a year’s worth of experience, I’ve come to love working with hundreds of cheeses and trying all the new varieties. I am in no way a licensed monger, hence the name ‘Not so Monger’. Much of what is said about the food comes from my peers as well as my own opinion.

Surprisingly enough, cheese is a wonderful food for just about any occasion; it’s fit for a multitude of pallets. Many people flat-out refuse to eat dairy, but they’re missing the opportunity to try it in a way they might actually enjoy. As a picky eater, I get that the appeal of cheese is quite scary, but there are too many varieties to hate them all. Chances are, out of disinterest or fear, they haven’t had a chance to find the type or specific cheese they prefer. In that case, I want to change things. Each month, I’ll be posting an article about cheese and boards/arrangements. With around 8 varieties and thousands of variations, there’s bound to be one to love.

With it being the first day of October, what better type of board to present than a Halloween-themed arrangement. Being new to cheese, nothing is scarier than a whole bunch of things you’ve never tried, unless of course, you have a newfound love for all things cheese. But, realistically, it doesn’t work that way. Instead of making something overwhelming right off the bat, I’ll begin with a few simple cheeses that are mild in flavor. As a rule of thumb when making a board you want something to pair the cheese with. A cracker, fruit slices, or slices of meat are good starters. 

Apple slices are my first choice of pairing for this board. It seemed most fitting- as apples are currently in season. With cheese lacking flavor, the sweetness of the apple adds to the taste. If not apples, I would settle with something like Breton crackers, a popular brand for boards that would work for a small piece of cheese. Along with the apple slices I have prosciutto: the most common meat in any arrangement. This meat is shaved thin and melts in the mouth with a salty/slightly sweet taste. On the side, I have some Halloween-themed goodies. The candy corn pumpkins add a twist to the original orange, white, and yellow seasonal treat. Some gummy eyeballs add to the spooky theme. Candy is a great in-between for those who like something sweet. Around a corner of the board, I placed chunks of 95% dark chocolate, along with apple-flavored caramel corn. 

The most important item on the board would be the cheese. This assortment only has three kinds of cheese – it would be far too crowded and overwhelming to start out with too much more. I chose cheese with less flavor and a cool marbled look to ease into things. These three were a huge hit when presented to my class.

The first cheese, Colby, is used as a prosciutto pumpkin. It is also cubed up on the side for people to eat. Colby has a buttery edge and mild tang to it – a fan favorite for picky eaters because of the simplicity. Colby can be used for things like shredding into salads, grilling, and as a snack. 

It gets a little fancier moving to the Blue Marble cheese. This cheese is semi-soft and has a very faint bleu cheese flavor with a mix of Monterey to tone it down. It’s best paired with a side on this specific board, but it’s not as intimidating as normal bleu cheese. Blue marble goes great on burgers, sandwiches, pizza, salads, and with a side like crackers. It worked well with the fresh apple slices. Going along with the autumn theme, the next cheese was cut in apple shapes and is called Sage Derby. This marbled cheese is semi-soft with a buttery flavor, it also includes the essence of sage that gets mixed in during the vat cheese process. It looks great and is used in a couple of ways. It’s best eaten with a side like crackers but can also be mixed into a cheese sauce and pasta. All three of these cheeses were gone by the time the party was over. Selecting the right cheeses for the occasion decidedly makes the board.


One Comment

  1. Susie Dehos Susie Dehos

    This is awesome! So much information! Very well written!

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