Monday, November 26, 2012

Make a cheese plate with Castello Cheeses


Awhile ago, the fantastic folks over at Castello cheese sent me a bunch of coupons so that I could try various cheeses made by Castello, Dofino, and Tre Stelle. I buy these brands of cheeses all the time and was happy to branch out and try ones that I've never bought before, and let's be honest; cheese is awesome. What cheese will I buy? What will I do with them? What kinds of cheese will I be able to find? I had so many questions, but once in the deli section at my local grocery store, the hardest part was deciding which cheese was the best to buy.

After much deliberation,  I picked up some Castello Reserve, blue cheese by Castello, a havarti by Dofino that I have eyed before, and some Tre Stelle ricotta. As soon as I arrived home with the bag Kevin met me at the door, ready to dive in immediately. I held him off until Sunday morning, when I finally set the cheese out to photograph.
left to right: Castello Reserve, Dofino Havarti, Castello Blue cheese
The first cheese we tried was the Castello Reserve.  It's a firmer, stronger tasting cheese, with a bit of bite to it.  I think it would make a great addition to a cheese plate as a bolder flavour and I loved to just nibble on it with veggies or even with a glass of sherry after dinner.   Next, we dove into the havarti.  I've always loved havarti's creamy, mild flavour and it often makes an appearance Christmas Eve with our annual appetizer spread.  Dofino's havarti doesn't disappoint.  It's rich and creamy, ready to be cubed up and paired with some grapes or apple slices. 

Blue cheese often scares people off.  The idea of mould in it, along with the strong flavour, often is something people either really love or hate.  Kevin and I love blue cheese!  Crumbled in salads, on its own spread on crackers, we have no problem nibbling at a large wedge until it's finished.   Castello makes a variety that range from really mild to more strong, and we've often bought them whenever a recipe calls for blue.  

The ricotta cheese, which we couldn't really eat on a cheese plate like the rest, was spooned into lemon pancake batter, fried up in butter, and then slathered with blueberry syrup.  Ricotta is a fantastic cheese that I often use in pasta dishes, but these pancakes are rich and perfect for a special occasion, such as a Christmas morning breakfast.  Rich and creamy, the ricotta added the perfect element to the pancakes and gave them a wonderful savoury flavour.

While you are putting together a cheese plate over the holiday when you are entertaining, Castello has some wonderful new cheeses available in their Alps collection.  I encourage you to try them!

Weissbeir: A buttery cheese with a faint bitterness and a hint of nutty sweetness. It is great for sandwiches, perfect with grilled vegetables, and delicious with your favourite white wine.

Chiantino: A mild and slightly sweet cheese with hints of dark chocolate, fruitiness and dryness of Chianti. It is perfect as a snack with olives or baked figs, and is great for melting recipes or with green asparagus.

Classic Cheese: This cheese has a slightly smoky aroma, and a spicy hint of mountain herbs. It is best served with freshly baked bread or full-bodied red wines.

Hirten: This cheese has a slightly sweet caramel overtone with hints of pine. It goes great with sweet foods such as figs and chocolate, and is perfect for sandwiches with spiced ingredients.

Keep an eye out for these great options when creating a cheese tray, which can be a nice way to end a meal instead of something sweet.  With a nice glass of wine and a bit of fruit, it makes for a fantastic dessert.

What kind of cheese is your favourite?  Let me know in the comments!

Castello cheeses sent me a lovely package with coupons to spend $25 on cheese, as well as a fun beer mug to write this post.  However, I've bought cheese from this brand many times before and am quite a fan of their products. Thank you so much to Castello cheeses!

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