Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Feast Your Eyes

If your name is Maike, stop reading this post, right now. ;)

Otherwise, you may continue and feast your eyes on glorious cheeses and lovely ladies.

A while back, Nicole was spending the night and the next day our cobbled lunch consisted of cheese and crackers, fruit, and bruschetta. We found ourselves discussing a mutual love for cheese, and then the idea came! We could host our own cheese party! We excitedly set out plans--cheese to have, people to invite, dresses to wear...

Getting ready for the cheese party.

She came over early to help clean up our patio, prep food, and set up our food table. We originally intended to have it outside on the back porch, but a rainy forecast and the prospect of mosquitoes kept us inside. She had also come over previous weekends to plan and go cheese shopping! (Pictures of which I will post in a separate post.)

We asked each guest to bring one unfamiliar cheese. Some people got a little excited and brought extra and between Nicole and I, we provided several different cheeses. All in all, we had seventeen different cheeses and only one duplicate. This included a number of semi-soft cheese (including three different types of Gouda), hard cheeses, bloomy cheeses, and blue cheeses. We had one Gorgonzola and a peaches and cream Stilton.

our table spread

The Duo Hostesses:

It was really nice to have Nicole alongside me in this, as it made it much much easier for me to relax and enjoy the party.

 Mom helped me print out "cheese evaluation" sheets so that everyone could rate the cheese based on appearance, aroma, texture, and flavor. It was really cool to see everyone's different taste preferences. Personally, I like creamy/smooth/buttery cheeses, so the Havarti, Fontina, and Goudas ranked pretty highly on my sheet. Nicole, on the other hand, really likes the hard/flaky/salty cheeses so the Asiago, Piave and Manchego ranked higher on her lists. The evaluation sheets opened up a nice dialogue of comparing and contrasting cheeses. Everyone liked the Havarti and the Peaches and Cream Stilton and virtually no one (except myself) liked the Gorgonzola. It became the "bad cheese." We would say, "Oh, Veronica's trying the Gorgonzola!" and everyone would stop and watch. I was the last to try the Gorgonzola, but I didn't think it was that bad. It was a little weird, but the flavor was...earthy and soft, almost damp. Maybe that doesn't appeal to everyone, but I thought it was alright. The other thing the evaluation sheets did, was they encouraged the guests to try every cheese and rate it. It created a safe and fun environment for trying new things--and as a lover of food, I'm all over that!

 One we finished tasting, we played card games for the rest of the night: Hearts, Bartog, Egyptian Rat Screw. Bartog is a new game we discovered in which you get to make up the rules! You start with a few basic rules and the winner of each round gets to add a new rule. Everyone caught on so well! We had loads of fun!

 Dad was our Master Photographer so we took lots of group pictures together!

 He even got a few candids:
Silly picture:

And last, but not least, we had to get a picture with Cam. He just wore a plain t-shirt, but we told him he couldn't have any cheese if he didn't abide by the dress code, so he threw on his favorite over-sized suit jacket and proceeded to enjoy cheese. But that wasn't enough. He had to take pictures with us too! (Which was a much bigger ordeal for him than it should've been.) But this picture is totally priceless.

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