something savory for your sweets February 13, 2011

Valentine’s Day is a tricky holiday for someone like me. See, I’m a woman that doesn’t like roses. While I love flowers, I think roses are quite the cliche. There’s also the fact that I don’t really like chocolate. In fact, I’d rather have just about anything else – sweet or savory – for dessert. So, shopping for someone like me or trying to treat them to something nice on Valentine’s Day takes a little more thinking. A little more effort than a heart shaped box and some red flowers. For those who want to do something a little different – or have plans to entertain their sweetheart at home – I have one piece of advice: Get thee to the cheese room at Star Provisions and put together a crackin’ cheese plate.

For those with a savory tooth, Star Provisions is home to the sexiest seven foot by seven foot* piece of real estate in town. Housing over 200 different cheeses and all that goes with them, the wafting smells of earthy delights hits you before you even cross the threshold of the door. Star’s cheese room is a sure thing for those looking to put together a cheese plate for a cozy dinner on Valentine’s Day – or any other day of the year, for that matter. Put yourself in the knowledgeable hands of the shop’s Cheesemonger Tim Gaddis (known as @timthecheeseman on Twitter) and he & the rest of the staff can artfully pair cheeses with your personal taste, texture preferences and budget. You can make this a one-stop trip by getting fresh baked baguette (which is preferred over crackers as a vehicle for your cheese), wine and even a snazzy plate or wood slab to serve it on. It’s sure to wow your honey more than flowers your cat might eat or a big burgundy envelope.

For those not able to make the trip – and Star Provisions should definitely be on the sight seeing itinerary for any food lover – here are a few quick tips for putting together your own cheese plate:

  • Variety is the spice of life. Create your assortment by milk type, texture and intensity of flavor. Try picking out four to five cheeses that compliment each other. Even within a milk type, cheese can vary in texture and flavor so doing an all goat or all sheep cheese board might be a fun twist.
  • Ask for help & get to know a local cheesemonger. That’s what folks like Tim are there for – to educate you, let you try new things and make sure you’re buying the right amount of a variety of choices. There are so many cheese out there – Star Provisions has 200 alone – and asking questions is helpful.
  • When it comes to what comes with it, plain flavored baguette or simple crackers/flat-bread works best and doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the cheese. Great accompaniments with cheese are toasted almonds or pecans, Membrillo, dried fruits (they look pretty on your cheese plate, too) and good quality local honey.

I’ve recently unearthed quite a few fun blogs dedicated to the topic of cheese…and there is lots of great, free information for those wanting to go into making their cheese plate a little more educated. Check out CurdNerds, Cheese and Champagne and It’s Not You It’s Brie for a little online education . Of course, there’s also an app for the art of the cheese course, as well.

If you are headed out in Atlanta for a romantic Valentine’s Day soiree and want to hit a spot that does a great cheese course, fantastic selections can be found at Ecco (their make your own selection of meats and cheeses is top notch), 4th and Swift, The Porter Beer Bar and the granddaddy of them all, the cheese cart at Bacchanalia.

Shown here: Pantaleo – a firm goat’s milk cheese from Sardinia, Cashel Blue – Ireland’s first artisanal blue cheese, and Weybridge – a soft earthy cow’s milk cheese from Scholten Family Farms in Vermont alongside various accompaniments.

*that measurement is a guess. i was too busy sampling cheese to bust out a tape measure.


Kulsum at JourneyKitchen Feb 14, 2011 08:02 am

Please tell me you like chocolate. My life depends on it. But then my life also depends on cheese. So I’ll still hug you my friend. Not a valentine’s day girl either but HAPPY VALENTINE’s day. Great post

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tami hardeman, Tim Gaddis. Tim Gaddis said: Shout-outs for @CellarsatJH Weybridge & some tips for putting together a great cheese plate in today's @Scoutmob post: […]

Kimberley Feb 14, 2011 08:02 pm

While I do love chocolate, nothing makes me more ridiculously excited than an assortment of intense, rich, strong cheese. I’m with ya on that!

Kimberley Feb 14, 2011 08:02 pm

While I do love chocolate, nothing makes me more ridiculously excited than an assortment of intense, rich, strong cheeses. I’m with ya on that!

Susan Feb 16, 2011 08:02 am

Cheese and Chocolate together–the ultimate combo for V-day for me. Enjoyed reading about cheese–something different and like the other sources for further reading. Thanks

Katie Feb 16, 2011 09:02 am

Cashel Blue is my favorite blue cheese, and I will have to check out Star the next time I’m in ATL.

Nicole Franzen Feb 16, 2011 11:02 am

yum. love. cheese. forever.

colleen @ cheeseandchampagne Feb 16, 2011 01:02 pm

Now that’s my kind of Valentine. ;-) What a lovely picture. And thanks for the mention!