By Garrett McCord, Epicurious.com
So there's all kinds of writing on how to prepare a proper cheeseboard. Put them on a plate, eat clockwise, start with fresh cheeses and move down the line to stronger cheeses, use only one hard and one washed, always end with a blue, yada yada yada.
Related: Epicurious's Guide to Thanksgiving
Most of the time I'll go with these rules as they facilitate a proper way to enjoy the various cheeses so that one doesn't eclipse another. That's fine for a tasting class and all but sometimes I just want to set up a cheese board that's wonky, funky, and unique. It should be a selection that speaks to my personality and entertain the people I serve it to.
My selection for this year's Thanksgiving is going to be brusque with many forward flavors that don't take no *expletive* from no one. These are cheeses that are highly regarded in cheese-lover circles but that few cheese dabblers every really stumble across. Do yourself a favor and check these out if you can.
Försterkäse: A traditional Swiss "lumberjack's cheese" the wheels of this smelly cheese are heavily washed in white wine before being wrapped in fir bark. All this prep results in a cheese both stunning in appearance and smell. The bark lends a slight woodsy flavor that makes this cheese unique, but the taste overall is meaty, buttery, and very savory. This is a seasonal cheese and the season is right now. Call your cheesemonger and see if they have it or if they can get it. It's a cheese that shouldn't be missed.
See also: Our Complete Guide to Making Perfect Pies
Juni: Flavored cheeses often get a bad rap as being gimmicky, but Juni is a particular cheese where the milk is only enhanced by the careful addition of an outside flavor. In this case: juniper berries. Juni tastes like a gin and tonic with a bit of cream, and is the only cheese I've found that can actually be paired with a gin and tonic (a squeeze of lime will do, too). The texture is crumbly and besides the prominent flavor of juniper expect musky, mushroomy flavors as well.
Sottocerena al Tartufo: The translation for the name of this cheese is, "under ash, with truffles." How does that not immediately romance you to this cheese? It sounds exotic and alluring. This raw cow's milk cheese is delicately laced with black truffles and coated with a mix of ash, cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, and other spices. The result is a delicate cheese that melts well over scrambled eggs and offers up a evasive aroma of truffle.
Moody Blue: Blue cheeses are often so strong they don't need any strengthening in flavor. However, Moody Blue is a rather sweet blue cheese whose minor piquancy is aroused by the flavor of smoke. Wheels are smoked over fruit wood which make this cheese pop. Fire and cream gives this cheese a dominant profile. It shocks the senses and cooks up wonderfully.
More from Epicurious.com:
• Bobby Flay's Thanksgiving
• One-Dish Wonders: Our Favorite Casserole Recipes
• The Best Fall Recipes
• Healthy Snack Taste Test
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