My Cheese Plate for One
Almost. We almost made it through flu season without a sneeze or sniffle. Unfortunately, my son picked up the flu this week. I am grateful to say he is getting over his sickness, but man is this mama is worn out! The weekend hasn’t even ended and my husband has become under the weather too. To recoup from long days of caretaking, I decided to treat myself to a cheese plate for one and wine.
Life is Gouda
I have to explain my shopping adventure that led me to this cheese plate combo: Earlier this week, I was shopping at a local Kroger store that has a cheese kiosk. I was offered to sample from two employees. One employee was wearing a hat the said “Life is Gouda”! I tried an aged cheese that served on a toothpick with a small slice of apple, and dipped in a bit of honey. It was delicious and tasted like gruyere which I love. And, even better, the cheese was on sale!
I added the cheese to cart and realized that the kiosk is a great opportunity to expand my knowledge on cheeses. I don’t know a lot about cheese categories, or about cheese production. Her Mise En Place, however, encourages me to expand my culinary knowledge. I began to research the cheese I purchased. I made myself a mini cheese plate that was influenced by the sample I had at the grocery store.
The purchased cheese is Pleasure Ridge Reserve, made by Uplands Cheese Company in Wisconsin. I never heard of this before and looked it up. According to the company’s website, Pleasure Ridge is an “alpine-type” cheese. What does that mean??? I did a little more research and came across lots of descriptions referring to the term ‘alpage’ . An alpage cheese also goes by mountain cheese or alpine cheese. It is made from the milk of animals who graze in the mountains or alpines.
Cheesemakers produce this category of cheese in the summer months. This is because animals such as cows and goats are eating the richest grasses and wildflowers. Therefore, producing the richest milk. In some regions, farmers and cheesemakers have to move their herds to mountainous pastures in order to have favorable flora. Then, they return the herds to their valleys in the fall.
Murrayscheese.com says that Pleasure Ridge is from “summer, pasture-fed milk”. I returned to the dairy farm’s website to discover that the farm is in a hilly valley of Wisconsin. The cows are grass fed. My lesson was coming around full circle!
What’s on my plate
The cheese sample at the grocery store is influential for my snack. I enjoyed the mini cheese plate for my Saturday night of relaxation after the baby was asleep and my husband was resting in bed with hot tea. My plate included dices of the Pleasure Ridge Reserve, slices of honey crisp apples, and drizzles of local honey. I paired the plate with a glass of Chardonnay.
A cheesy challenge
I am so glad to discover this particular cheese and will purchase it again. I certainly had fun researching alpine and alpage cheeses. My Saturday night cheese plate was tasty, enjoyable and full of culinary lessons.
Next, I look forward to trying more cheeses. This could be a fun, easy to do experience. I will challenge myself to try cheeses that I have little knowledge of and learn more.