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Cheese le dessert – French cooking spotlight: cheese as dessert!
August 2010

Cheese can be savored at any time – before, with or after a meal as well as on its own as a snack.

One uniquely French way of enjoying fromage is having it as a dessert. While cheese as dessert isn’t as popular in America as it is in Europe, French cheese lovers know that fine fromages pack more than enough robust flavors to top of any meal in a truly unique way!

Cheeses are salty, which makes them a nice contrast to serve with sweets. Discover what the French have long known: A simple dessert cheese plate makes for an easy and elegant dessert.

Here’s 8 tips on how to make a simple cheese dessert delight – just like it’s done in France.

1. Buttery, mild and fresh-tasting fromages make ideal dessert cheeses. Ile de France goat cheeses are great because they have a fresh taste that goes well with many other flavors.

2. Serve two or three cheeses and concentrate on the pairings you serve with them. This will keep the focus on the flavors of the fromage while not overwhelming guests – who likely aren’t used to eating cheese as a dessert.

3. Fruits add flavor, sweetness, texture and juiciness that all are a nice contrast to creamy fromage. Try our fruit and cheese pairing articles for ideas on what fruits go well with what fine cheeses.

4. Go Nuts - nuts are almost always a delicious complement to cheese, adding texture and a mild flavor that won’t compete with the complexities of the fromage. Choose your favorite nut – almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and even peanuts won’t disappoint.

5. Honey pairs well with most gourmet cheeses, and, along with an assortment of crushed nuts or sweet crackers can make a simple cheesy dessert in minutes.

6. Luscious, creamy cheeses, like St. Andre can be served as desserts with very little fuss. St. Andre pairs well with strawberries and when sprinkled with a light chocolate sauce can be its own “cheese cake.” Other cheeses, such as goat cheese, need a bit more ornamentation – like berries, honey, walnuts, sweet crackers - to thrive as desserts.

7. Serve sweet wines with desserts with cheese. Sweet wines often enjoyed for dessert include; mulled wines, classic ports and medium sherry wines. Rosés are an excellent choice as well. The sweet citrus notes of these wines makes a great backdrop for experiencing French cheese.

8. In most cases, cheeses should be served at room temperature. If you're serving cheese as a dessert, guests’ palettes will be warmed up and primed to taste all the flavors of the fromage, and that’s most likely when the fromage is not cold.