With the holidays and plenty of opportunities to entertain coming up, it’s a good time to think about what you’ll be putting on your cheese boards. A platter with a variety of well-chosen bites is an easy, reliable standby for hors d’oeuvres hour and never fails to impress guests.
Our cheesemonger put together this list of the top new selections in the FreshDirect Cheese Shop. These cheeses come from some of the most exciting artisan cheesemakers in Europe and in addition to being delicious, they’ll make your board stand out from the rest.
This twist on Bavarian blue cheese comes from Käserei Obere Mühle in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Cheesemaker Arturo Chiriboga draws from his love of the region’s traditional cheeses as well as others like Roquefort to create a creamy, buttery blue with veins that add a tangy punch. Made with grass-fed milk from nearby dairies, Chiriboga Blue is rindless and ready for market at barely a month old.
Carles Roquefort AOP
Roquefort, the most famous French blue, is made from the milk of Lacaune sheep, which is what gives this cheese its intense, powerful flavor. Carles’s Roquefort stands out for being exceptionally well-balanced with a distinct fruitiness and a beautiful alternation between the creamy curds and grainy blue mold.
Urgestein comes from Neuwies dairy in Switzerland’s lower Toggenburg valley, where the slopes start to rise but cows can still graze easily for a good part of the year. It’s a truly unique cheese and departure from the Tilsiter cheeses that are the bulk of the dairy’s production. The marble structure gives it a distinct appearance as well as a slight crunch and nutty flavor.
Gruyère d’Alpage Jeux de Quilles
The word alpage means “mountain pasture;” this cheese likewise is made with milk from cows grazed on the flowers and grasses of alpine pastures. Master cheesemaker Philippe Pasquier travels into the mountains with his herd in late May and produces about two wheels of cheese per day. This cheese works in fondue, but we say let it take center stage on your cheese plate.
1655 Cave-Aged Gruyere
1655 Cave-Aged Gruyère is produced daily by skilled artisans in Bulle, Switzerland. Given its moniker in the year 1655, gruyère is known for its lingering nutty flavor and firm yet creamy texture. The farmstead produces only 20 wheels per day. After careful aging, a beautifully burnished wheel is produced, featuring hints of sweetness, roasted meat, and dried stone fruit.
A cream-added cheese, Schnebelhorn is richer and more decadent than most of the cheeses from the Alpine region where it’s produced. It’s aged for 8–9 months, in which time it develops a pronounced level of spiciness that’s balanced by the buttery, nutty flavor. Although the texture is mainly creamy, it’s also slightly gritty, making it perfect for both baguettes and cheese plates.
Upon first bite, this raw cows’ milk farmstead cheese—produced and aged 14 months at Almnäs Bruk in central Sweden—has a flavor both unusual and undeniably delightful. Combining elements of cooked curd Alpine cheeses with higher-acid lowland cheeses like cheddar, it boasts sweet notes of mascarpone and toffee with a slightly crystalline texture and an extremely long finish.
This semi-soft table cheese hails from Allgäu in southern Germany and gets its name from the Alex train system that connects southern Germany to Munich. Using raw milk from two herds, cheesemaker Albert Kraus creates a cooked curd, pressed cheese that’s washed in local herbs at five months. The result is a dense, creamy body balanced by notes of fruit and cured meats.
Need a few pointers on how to compose the perfect cheese board? Check out our guide here.