Serving cheese at the end of a meal is a nice change from sweet desserts. This European trend of having cheese as dessert is catching on more and more every day. Any type of cheese can be served as a dessert course, but these four are especially nice at the end of the meal. The best part about cheese for dessert is that it's fast and easy.
When serving cheese as a dessert course, consider also serving dessert wine: Moscato d'Asti, Tokai, late harvest Gewurztraminer, or Sauternes. Barley wines and other sweet beers like a Belgian style Dubbel work well or try a Pedro Ximenez sherry. Consider fresh fruit or a sweet spread (like fig jam, quince paste, or honey) on the side.
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Brillat Savarin is a triple crème (pronounced either "creme" or "cream"), which is a style of cheese that has a butterfat content of at least 75%. This is one level higher than a cheese like Brie, which has a butterfat content between 60%-74% and is considered a double crème. Triple crème cheeses have a luxurious, whipped texture and buttery, mild flavor. Aged for 4 to 5 weeks, Brillat Savarin is decadent, exceptionally creamy, and an easy stand-in for dessert.
Brillat-Savarin was created by cheese-maker Henri Androuët in the 1930s and is named after 19th-century gastronome and epicure, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. It is an industrial cheese produced by three dairies situated in the Ile de France region.
A few other triple crème cheeses to look for are Saint Andre, Explorateur and Delice de Bourgogne (French) and Mt. Tam, Largo, and Champlain Valley Triple (U.S.A.).
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Rogue River Blue
Rogue River Blue is gorgonzola made only during autumn when the cow's rich milk lends itself best to making this exquisite cheese. Rogue River Blue is wrapped in Syrah grape leaves that have been soaked in pear brandy. This gives the blue cheese a slightly sweet, fruity, and woodsy flavor with the spice, blackberry, vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, and bacon flavors for which this cheese is known.
The paste becomes slightly crystallized as it ages. Less sharp and salty than some other types of blue cheese, it's a lovely end to a meal, especially when paired with a dessert wine.
Rogue River Blue gained international recognition in 2003 when it bested European titans such as Roquefort and Stilton at the World Cheese Awards in London.
Other blue cheeses to consider for dessert are Gorgonzola, Cashel Blue, Great Hill Blue, and St. Agur, which tend to be fairly mild and very creamy.
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Unlike young gouda, which is soft and mild, aged Gouda has a sweet, salty, butterscotch flavor and a hard texture that is extremely rich. Its color is deep amber to burnt orange, and the texture is very similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano. If you can find Gouda that has been aged for five years, you're in for a treat. This cheese is so caramelized, it's almost like eating candy. Many use aged Gouda as a substitute for Parmesan cheese for grating.
Pair with strong Dutch beer as well as fruity red wines and tea.
If you can't find Gouda that has been aged for between 2 to 5 years, other similar cheeses to look for are Romano or Prima Donna.
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This intriguing goats milk farmstead cheese made in Oregon is aged for three weeks to a semi-hard texture and dotted with fenugreek seeds. During the aging process, each wheel is turned and wiped daily.
The fenugreek seeds give the slightly sharp cheese a nutty, slightly sweet flavor with hints of maple, baking spice, celery, and butterscotch. It's a unique treat, especially well-suited for a dessert course.
If you can't find Fenacho, look for Purple Haze, a soft goat cheese blended with fennel pollen and lavender.