5 Tips for Cheesing in Summer
Be wary of the temperature
While many of us relish the rising mercury, cheese isn’t so keen on it. Left out for too long, oozy, soft cheeses can quickly turn into a puddle on your kitchen table, while harder cheeses can get sweaty and flopsy – neither of which are very appetizing. To avoid this pitfall, only remove what you’ll actually eat from the refrigerator, and let that come to temperature. Once it’s at an optimum warmth, enjoy as quickly as possible.
Buy seasonal, pair seasonal
Summer cheeses come in many varieties; some are nice and firm, like Pecorinos and Parmigiano-Reggiano, ideal for tossing in a picnic basket and traipsing around town, and some are on the soft side, like Vermont’s Summer Snow. Whatever your preference, seasonal pairings are what really make these cheeses. Nutty alpines lend a strong hand to lush summer fruits, and fluffy, fresh goat cheese makes a cool glass of Sauvingon Blanc sing. After all, what better season to enjoy a full cheeseplate al fresco?
Serve cheese at barbecues
If you have access to halloumi or some other bread cheese (which you do if you have the Internet, which I KNOW you do because you’re reading this!), slap that stuff right on the grill. Use it to spice up veggie kebobs, or char it solo for a squeaky, greasy snack or appetizer. You can even dress it up with honey for an exciting dessert. If you’re partial to a softer cheese, invest in a barbeclette. This handled tray is perfect for getting slices all melty and delicious right on the grill – use it for a summer Raclette dinner, complete with grilled potatoes and homemade pickles.
Keep the bugs away
Cheese is generally stored in the fridge, so there’s no danger there – but when it’s is placed outdoors for a party, the aroma can attract more than just hungry guests. Luckily, there are chic ways to keep your cheese protected from critters, while still keeping it visible and available to your guests: cheese domes. If you’re a fan of rustic styles, mesh domes are a great choice and offer breathability. Glass domes are sleeker, and practically beg your guests to sample the prize inside. Don’t have time to buy a dome? Invert a glass cake stand – it will function the same way.
Make friends with your monger
Really, this should be a rule for all seasons, but we must admit it’s easy to get friendly with the online order form during the winter. That said, if you’re lucky enough to have a neighborhood cheese shop, take advantage of it! Summer is the best time to stroll through specialty food shops, with their windows thrown wide open, outdoor displays full of goodies, and the produce section spilling with fresh, seasonal items. So take a “staycation,” venture on down, and get chatty with your cheesemonger. They’ll let you in on all the cheesy secrets of the summer season.Photo by Miguel Pires da Rosa via Compfight