This year, rather than rounding up some of the best American cheeses, which does indeed profile some appropriate options for what to serve tomorrow, we thought we'd condense our cheese tips into three categories. Since there's likely to be so much other food, stick with three cheeses and stick to this format. You'll get three totally different selections of various style and aesthetic.
Bloomy: Unabashedly crowd-pleasing, mild, and rich. And festive, too, with its white fluffy coat of mold. They're deceptively light, though, even though they taste so buttery and rich. You'll actually fill up less on this style of cheese than something harder and more dense-- creamy cheeses have a higher water content than denser cheeses, which have more fat per ounce. So you save room for the rest of the meal. Yes, we realize that this theory may be debatable but we give you permission to use it as justification for gorging on some delectably creamy cheeses at your Thanksgiving table.
If you're serving cheese to start, bloomies go great with sparkling wine and simple crudites. As dessert, try honey or spiced nuts alongside.
TRY: Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, Brie de Nangis, Fromage d'Affinois, Blue Ledge Farm Crottina, Jasper Hill Farm Constant Bliss, Nevat, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, or Robiola Bosina.
Boozy: If you're lucky, you may be able to find actual cheeses bathed in some kind of alcohol, which makes especially great accompaniment to festivities and family (especially the latter). Drunken Goat is a popular one, washed in wine, or Epoisses, washed in Marc de Borgogne. But really, by boozy we mean washed-rind. The strong ones. They're always washed in some kind of a brine (if not alcohol), and somehow, by the bacteria they develop, these cheeses smell. Traditionally, all washed-rind cheeses were washed in some kind of liquor, wine, or beer. They often smell of alcohol even if they weren't washed in it. It's that nearly sweet, boozy aroma that'll work well with your Thanksgiving menu; with all that's to be served, your cheese needs to make an impression, too. Washed-rind cheeses always tend to be of the attention-getting variety.
They're especially excellent with beer and sweeter wines, or even with dessert wines.
TRY: Epoisses, Taleggio, Meadowcreek Dairy Grayson, Pont L'Eveque, Langres, Crave Brothers Les Freres, Cowgirl Creamery Redhawk, Haystack Mountain Red Cloud, Cato Corner Hooligan, or Abbaye de Tamie.
Blue: Round out your selection with something blue. They're classy, those blues, admit it. And since they're so strong, you (may) end up eating less because they're so satisfyingly biting in small quantities. But most of all, blues are excellent for this time of year, when fruits like pears and persimmons abound, and cheese plates call for hardy, intense cheeses. And we can't help but imagine the great pairing a blue cheese would be with some Thanksgiving desserts like pecan pie. Blue cheeses and nuts have notorious attraction.
TRY: Roquefort, Blue D'Auvergne, Rogue River Blue, Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue, Gorgonzola Cremificato, Valdeon, and Point Reyes Original Blue.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, from The Cheesemonger!
Nora Singley is an avid lover of cheese, and for some time she was a Cheesemonger and the Director of Education at Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City. She is currently an assistant chef on The Martha Stewart Show.
Related: Holiday Appetizers from the Kitchn