There is a new Tuesday night tradition at our house that is becoming a real crowd pleaser- Cheese Night. Many of my friends are also food enthusiasts and love exceptional food. We decided since we always find ourselves talking about cheese, amongst other goodies, we should have an official Cheese Night at our house.
Where to Go
Though we try to offer other snacks, such as a series of house-made hummus' and veggies, we always let the show be run by the pushers over at the famouse Di Bruno Bros. It seems obvious to include the culinary pioneers in our ritual and always get a few show stopping recommendations. The mongers at Di Brunos are great to chat with about all things food, discovering new flavors, and will always be happy to guide you through the exciting world of cheese. I must note that its easy to spend money here, but getting a 1/4 pound of most cheese hovers around 4-8 bucks, which accomidates most budgets. Not to say that Di Brunos is the only game in town, as there are treasures littered throughout the city, like Mancuso's Cheese Shop on Passyunk, who make divine fresh milk cheeses in house, Claudio's on 9th, or Whole Foods who surprisingly has a cheese case that could possibly rival Di Brunos. Places like The Green Aisle Grocery also carry many great local cheeses, but don't forget to check out the nearest farmers market too.
My general rule of thumb for building a cheese plate or "collection" is to incorporate a variety of textures and milks on the plate. I strive to offer a soft, hard, and stinky cheese, as well as a variety between goat, sheep or cows milk. I also like showing off a series of cheeses such as all goat or all from the same region. I generally try to bring a classic to the plate as well but with a interesting twist on tradition. Cypress Grove Creamery of California, who offer some of my favorite goats milk cheeses, offer said twists with their Humbolt Fog, Truffle Tremor, and Purple Haze. I try to pair cheeses with condiments that help bring our the cheeses unique flavors such as pairing aged goudas, like Old Amsterdam or Vintage with a honey or carmel. Jams and spreads are also great, as well as nuts and dried fruit. I also like to highlight local cheese as often as possible. Pennsylvania has some beautiful farmstead cheeses and in our Lancaster Farm Fresh cheese C.S.A we have tasted some wonderful rarities like Green Acres Farm Derby Sage. We've had a few creatives also bring homemade ricotta to the table and of course, plenty of wine. This weekly tradition is becoming a favorite and is a great way to treat-yo-self and break up the week. So join our house in our weekly tradition of cheese night and grab some delicious cheese, a baguette and explore some new flavors!!!