Ah, The Moms Project, how I love thee. We’ve chatted about their fantastic mission in the past, and I’m thrilled that we’re back with another epic feature. This time, all eyes are on one of my personal favourite topics: cheese (oh yes, I have heart-eyes for cheese). More specifically, we’re chatting entertaining tips with none other than The Cheese School of San Francisco! Our excitement, well it’s palatable!
From Kiri Fisher, owner of The Cheese School of San Francisco… My name is Kiri Fisher, mom to sweet Eski and wife to my dear Adam Fisher. These days, my life is divided into just a few categories: mom, wife, and business owner. It’s really a beautifully intertwined mix. Everyday I try to take a moment to gain even more clarity on how to be better at each role.
At The Cheese School of San Francisco we offer classes in tasting, pairing, and cheesemaking. We also cater parties and weddings and throw delicious private events. I like to say we’re a school for the perplexed, obsessed, and professional. It’s the job I feel happiest doing. I get to teach, learn, create beautiful and tasty things, and share the work and talent of extraordinary artisans with the wider world. I’m never sad it’s Monday. And I eat really well!
Rule No. 1 Timing Is Everything:
// Base your selection on when you plan to serve the cheese. If you’re entertianing in the afternoon or this is an appetizer, go lighter. (You’re preparing to dazzle your guests with your kitchen skills, get them salivating instead of closing down their palates – and appetites- with big flavors and heavy textures.)
// To open up your guests’ palates start with a fresh or young cheese, like creamy burrata or a wrinkly-rinded, young goat cheese. Dress it up with the sweetest strawberries you can find in the summer or truffle honey and persimmons in the fall. If you’re hosting a cocktail party, go for something bolder, but not so bold it will clash with your cocktails or wines. A farmhouse cheddar, a special pecorino, or a hearty Alpine such as Comté are all verstile pairing cheeses that are universally loved.
// For dessert go for something dazzling, like a rich, creamy blue, an indulgent triple crème, or a delciously stinky washed rind. Serve your super stars with something sweet like milk chocolate, rose petal jam, or preserved cherries in syrup. Going for dinner-party host immortality? Add a luscious dessert wine like Sauternes.
Rule No. 2 Quality Over Quantity
// I usually stick to one to three cheeses when I entertain at home. While it tempting to offer more variety in four or five cheese, it dimishes the gesture by intermixing too many flavors and small pieces. Go dramatic with a big ol’ hunk of something you just love. A pound of a great Alpine cheese looks fabulous at a party and will run you $15-25. Impress an intimate gathering of friends with your decisiveness by serving a whole wheel of a smaller format cheese like Mt. Tam or Winnimere.
Rule No. 3 Give a Clue
// Some guests are shy to take the first bite, others destroy your carefully crafted display in one fell swoop of the cheese knife. Chunk bitesized nuggets of cheese out of a wedge of aged gouda, cut out a single serving of camembert and lay the piece next to or on top of the wheel, cut a few triangles (from rind to center) from a piece of manchego. Illustrating how to cut and eat the cheese is less intimating for the shy folks and signals to cheese hogs what an appropriate portion looks like. It also makes for a magazine (or blog!) worthy presentation.
And if you’re looking for something a little sexier, a little more romantic, and a little V-day-esque, you best head on over to The Moms Project