Saturday, January 27, 2007

Five Ways to End a Meal with cheese

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

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