1. Fresh cheese such as Greek mizithra, fresh ricotta or queso fresco, drizzeled with lavender honey and scattered with the petals of edible blossoms
2. Fresh cheese served with a scattering of toasted nuts, a drizzle of warm honey and a sprinkling of aromatic cinnamon.
3. Ricotta, sweetened lightly with a little liqueur, then mixted intriguingly with diced dried apricots and chocoalte chips.
4. Parmesan with pears -- a combination of true love, especially when both are at the height of their ripe charm.
5. Ripe figs, split in half and drizzled with warm honey served on a plate with a slab of Gorgonzola and a handful of unsalted pistachio nuts.
But it is at the end of the meal that a small piece of cheese can thrill. Serve a small slice of a pungent, creamy cheese alongside a green salad, or a chunk of strong cheddar with a crisp apple tart.
I was in France recently with a S.F. friend, when the cheeseboard was brought to our table.
"I don't understand cheese for dessert," sid my friend as I worked my way through the vried and lush selection. "After a big meal, why do you want to eat cheese?"
"Because it's rich and delicious," I answered between bites. "Worth saving a little space for... more satisfying than a gooey pastery... and fabulous with the last of the red dinner wine." --M.S.
Marlena Speiler, S.F. Chronicle 10/25/95