Jenness and Roberta desBouillions: The fine art of the cheese course |

Jenness and Roberta desBouillions: The fine art of the cheese course

Barbara Jenness and Roberta desBouillions
Special to The Union
Barbara Jenness and Roberta DesBouillons.
John Hart/ | The Union

The cheese course has an important place in a menu.

Cheese does not have to be relegated to the end of a fancy dinner.

Fine cheeses may come as a starter with wine, many cheeses are incorporated into the entrée.

A beautiful autumn snack may present as a crisp fresh apple along with sharp cheddar.

A light lunch or picnic might be two people enjoying three cheeses accompanied by bread, fruit and olives.

Cheese should always be served at room temperature in order to insure the full flavor.

Depending on the hardness of the cheese, this could take an hour or two.

When you take the cheese out of the refrigerator, leave it wrapped to insure it doesn’t dry out.

When presenting cheese on a board always leave as much room as possible so the flavors don’t cross over.

When creating a cheese board, it is best to limit it to three or four well-chosen cheeses.

The cheeses should represent a balanced spectrum of cheese types and textures such as ripened, unripened, hard, semi-soft and soft.

The levels of flavor are also an important factor as is milk type and country of origin.

It is important to tag every cheese for your guests to know what they are about to eat.

This is a recipe that is sure to be a winner:

Cheese and fruit Plate


8 ounces sheep’s milk ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons pine nuts

6 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 ripe but firm Bartlett pears

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons flavorful honey


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ricotta in a fine sieve set over a bowl; let excess liquid drain, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, spread nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven until lightly browned, tossing occasionally, about seven minutes. Transfer to a plate; let cool.

In a food processor or medium bowl, mix together goat cheese and drained ricotta until creamy and thoroughly combined. Stir in thyme, parsley, and lemon zest; set aside.

Slice each pear into six wedges. Divide herbed cheese among four serving plates, spooning it into mounds. Arrange three pear wedges next to cheese on each plate. Sprinkle with nuts; drizzle about two teaspoons honey over each portion of cheese and pears. Serve immediately.

Barbara Jenness is a master cheesemaker and Roberta desBouillions is a trained chef. Together, they own Wheyward Girl Creamery. Contact on Facebook at Wheyward Girl Creamery.

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