Say “Cheese” for the Holidays

To celebrate Thanksgiving, my students and I created and enjoyed an elegant cheeseboard featuring the below seven cheeses.  As you know, a cheeseboard should contain cheeses of various textures from various countries of origin – this board did just that.  If seven is too many, choose any subset of three or five – an odd number is a must!

The below descriptions are from the cheesemonger and/or from the producer’s online descriptions.  Our accompaniments were Marcona almonds, Acacia honey, and fruit and nut crisps.

It was no surprise that the favorite was the Saint André…who doesn’t like butter? The Cambazola was also a standout and an effective way to introduce young turophiles to blue.

This assortment would be ideal for a holiday soirée with some Prosecco or Crémant d’Alsace.  Cheers, or should I say “Cheese”!


Saint André (France/Cow)

This soft-ripened, triple crème cheese is a product of Soulie, France.  Its luscious, mild, buttery flavor and velvety smooth texture make it a favorite of most everyone.  St. André may be served before a meal or for dessert with fresh fruit.

Mt. Tam (U.S.A./Cow)

This is Cowgirl Creamery’s signature cheese.  Smooth and creamy, this triple cream is made with organic milk in Petaluma, California.  It is firm yet buttery with a mellow, earthy flavor, reminiscent of white mushrooms. 

Taleggio (Italy/Cow)

This washed-rind, pressed curd cheese is from Lombardy at the foot of the Alps.  Its flavor is rich, buttery, and beefy with nuances of fruit and nuts.  Its texture is creamy yet substantial.  Fruit and crusty bread serve as good companions.  Serve it alone or consider sliced sopressata and prosciutto.

Manchego (Spain/Sheep)

This is Spain’s most popular cheese, and this version is aged for 4 months.  It is uncooked, pressed curd cheese that is made from sheep’s milk in the region Castile-La Mancha.  Look for the cross-hatched tire track pattern on its rind from the basket in which it was pressed and aged.  Enjoy it with fruit and truffle honey.

Ossau-Iraty (France/Sheep)

This cheese has been twice named the best cheese in the world.  It is made from raw sheep’s milk in the French Pyrénées.  One of the oldest and most heavenly of cheeses, its origin goes back thousands of years.  Enjoy the splendid nutty and fruity flavor of this firm cheese with fresh pears and figs. 

Couronne de Fontenay (France/Goat)

This cheese is from the heart of the Loire Valley and aged for one month.  The name means “crown” because it is shaped in a small crown shaped ring coated in vegetable ash.  While the center is a chalky texture, it becomes creamier closest to the bloomy (soft and fluffy) rind.

Cambazola (Germany/Cow)

This smooth, creamy, soft-ripened cheese combines a rich German triple-crème with Italy’s marvelous Gorgonzola dolce.  Cambazola is intended to appeal to those who find blue cheese a little too harsh and spicy.  The smooth and creamy texture is enhanced by subtle blue veins, creating a mouth-watering experience.

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