Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Butterkase and Centerpiece Cheeses

Later this week we will be restocked with German Butterkase (butter-kay-seh), one of our most popular cheeses.  It is a mild, semi-soft, somewhat salty cow's milk cheese from Landhaus, Germany.  While I am sure the buttery flavor of the cheese accounts for its popularity, its texture may be part of it too.  That texture varies from smooth and creamy to even smoother and creamier.  My research indicates some versions are almost spreadable.

The primary application for Butterkase, again according to my research, would be sliced on a sandwich with a glass of beer.  This cheese, however, would also work just fine on crackers with a glass of red wine, which leads me to the subject of cheese trays and the place of cheeses like Butterkase on them.  With a tray it is always nice to use a crowd pleaser like Butterkase as an economical centerpiece.  That kind of predictably popular cheese will always be the one that is disproportionally depleted during an event for the same reason some of us will reach into a bag of salted peanuts until there are no more.  It's just that good.

So by digging into the cheese tray in this manner one could say we are centered on that cheese that draws our attention, be it Butterkase, Cheddar, Brick, Swiss, Gouda or whatever the tray maker uses to fill a tray.  While familiarity often draws us to that cheese, the actual centerpiece on the tray is the one that draws our visual attention, the focal point.  Here are ten cheeses we have sold that would be great centerpieces on a tray.  Lets do this like a Letterman Top Ten List.

10.  Gjetost - Small brown carmelized brick that hails from Norway.  Made from goat and cow milk and served for breakfast or dessert in Europe.  This one is noticeably sweet.

9.   Any Sweet Grass Dairy (Georgia) goat cheese or other small cone or pyramid shaped soft cheese that looks unique.

8.   Ripe Pepper Brie that shows the black pepper and oozing in its presentation.

7.   Morbier - French soft ripening, natural rind cow cheese with ash line in the middle.  It's that line that draws the eye to it but natural rind soft cheeses in general work if they bulge like the Brie above.

6.   Red Dragon - Welsh semi-soft cow cheese with mustard seed and ale.  The red wax cover draws the attention and the mustard flavor keeps it.

5.   Sage Derby - British cow cheese with sage.  The green marbled cheese color and sage flavor are the draw here like the Red Dragon above.

4.   Fruit flavored Stiltons - Again the colors attract you and these sweet cheeses are almost like cheesecake.

3.   Rosey Goat - Semi-hard Spanish Goat Cheese encrusted with rosemary.

2.  Fratelli Putzula Pecorino Pienza -  It's coming in this week with the Butterkase.  2 1/2 # black rind ball with leaves and it comes in a basket!

1.  Stilton or any blue cheese.  If I was an artist and I wanted to paint cheese, I would paint blue cheese.

This Friday from 5 to 7pm we will be tasting: New Harbor New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Hills California Chardonnay, Sterling Carneros Pinot Noir, Rosenbloom Paso Robles Zinfandel, Navarro Correas Malbec, and Jade Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.  Please join us.

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