According to Datassential’s latest industry survey on March 17, 41% of Americans are nervous or worried about going out to eat and 27% are avoiding going out to restaurants altogether. Those numbers will only rise as Americans stay-at-home in an effort to combat the global pandemic. On the flip side, consumers staying in means more grocery shopping and meals at home. On March 21, S&P Global reported "We expect grocery to be a bright spot as consumers hunker down and stock up for an indefinite period of homebound life." Less going out means relying on pantry staples and smarter shopping strategies. But eating at home doesn’t mean a sacrifice in eating well, especially if you stock up on cheeses from Europe.
With fewer trips to the store it’s important to keep the cheese you purchase as fresh as can be. Cheese experts say that cheese you purchase should be consumed within a few days, but that may not always be possible. Wrap hard cheeses in cheese paper, or wax, or parchment paper and seal with tape. Soft cheeses need to breathe, so wrap them less tightly in cheese paper if possible and store them between 35- and 45-degrees Fahrenheit in the refrigerator. Soft cheeses should typically be consumed within a week or two while hard cheeses can last closer to six weeks.
Whether you choose hard cheeses or soft, now is a great time to enjoy cheese as the French do. According to Lindsey Tramuta, Paris-based writer and author of The New Paris and The New Parisienne, Comté, Beaufort, and Basque cheeses like Ossau-Iraty are staples of the French aperitif table, alongside fresh goat cheeses and Camembert. That’s largely because of their rich, complex flavors and pairing possibilities. Says Tramuta, "Often, there will be honey or quince paste like a firm jelly to spread on top. Mimolette, another firm cheese, is less a fixture of the apéro board and more often consumed as a snack or shredded for cooking. Occasionally, you’ll find it used in sandwiches or diced and thrown into salads. Each of these cheese plays a role in our daily lives!"
Having a few tricks up your sleeve for quick snacks and meals is essential to staying well-fed. Charles Duque, Director, The French Dairy Board for the Americas suggests serving comforting favorites, "To keep your household well fed and happy, serve them a classic wedge salad topped with crumbled Bleu d’Auvergne and bacon, Brie and ham sandwiches or even a simple cheese plate with a Triple Crème cheese and fresh strawberries."
Cookbook author and Cooking with Amy food blogger Amy Sherman suggests pairing cheese with pantry staples for quick and easy meals. "I like French cheese paired with comfort food like pasta and potatoes. Try Fourme d’Ambert tossed with penne and spinach or a baked potato topped with a spoonful of gooey Époisses." Sherman also keeps puff pastry in the freezer and suggests baking it with chunks of Brie or Camembert for an easy and surprisingly elegant snack or appetizer.
About the Cheeses of Europe
The Cheeses of Europe Marketing Campaign, orchestrated by Cniel (The French Dairy Inter-Branch Organization) and funded in part by the European Union, was designed to create awareness for the variety of European cheeses available in the US market and to suggest ways that American consumers can incorporate those cheeses into their diets, recipes and lifestyles. The campaign’s goal is to increase the appeal of European cheeses and strengthen their competitive position in the growing specialty cheese category.
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THE CONTENT OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT REPRESENTS THE AUTHOR’S POINT OF VIEW ONLY AND IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE AUTHOR. THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY USE THAT MAY BE MADE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED THEREIN.