The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) suggests putting together different types of cheeses and serving these with some fresh and dried fruits and nuts on your cheese platter, especially if you are having guests over for your Media Noche. A cheese platter should be able to offer cheeses of different hardness, textures and flavors to make it more exciting for everyone. Served with your favorite wine, your cheese platter should keep everyone happily busy, and can also keep a light conversation going.
The California Milk Advisory Board has made it possible for importers to bring in different types of delightful California cheeses, which come highly recommended because they are made from California milk produced by happy cows.
“The climate of California and the specialized care given by farmers to their cows allow their milk to attain its premium quality,” explains Reji Retugal-Onal, CMAB country representative.
To help you choose what cheeses to include on your cheese platter, here’s a guide on the different California cheeses available depending on their hardness:
• Fresh cheeses—These lovely cheeses have not been aged or ripened, so they retain much of the mild flavor of fresh milk. They include cottage cheese, Mascarpone, mozzarella (water-packed) and Ricotta.
• Semi-hard cheeses—The broadest range of varieties and styles, these cheeses include what we commonly refer to as table cheeses, being anywhere from soft and creamy (having been aged only for a few weeks) to moderately firm (aged a month or more), including Cheddar, Feta and Gouda.
• Soft and soft-ripened—These cheeses are delicate, delicious, typically mild when young and fuller in flavor as they age and often becoming softer and creamier in the process. Samples of soft and soft-ripened cheeses are Brie, Oaxaca and Schloss.
• Very hard—Aged cheeses, they are hard enough to grate or crumble, including Dry Jack and Enchilado Anejo, which are mild, and Cotija and Romano, which have sharp or strong flavors.
• Hispanic style—These are a broad family of cheeses that reflect the cheese-making styles and traditions from Mexico, Central and South America, and Spain and brought to California.
• Spiced and flavored—These natural cheeses, which are packed with flavor, draws exquisite flavors from the natural spices, herbs and vegetables that have been added into them. In the market are flavored versions of Brie, Cheddar, Feta, Gouda, Havarti, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Panela and Provolone.
To make sure you’re getting California cheeses, look for the Real California Milk seal, which is the certification mark that assures you that you are purchasing natural cheese, made in California exclusively with California Milk.
Enjoy your California cheese platter, everyone, and have a prosperous new year!