To mix things up a bit, Josh and I decided to have a French-inspired date night, complete with a night in the city and a French wine and cheese pairing at home. Read along as I share our experience and best tips at date night: the French way.
I'm a decent home cook but haven't yet braved the art of European cooking with recipes such as Escargots De Bourgogne or Coq Au Vin, so we decided to leave this one to the experts at Étoile Cuisine et Bar. If you're not in the Houston area to try this restaurant, research the top 5 rated French restaurants near you, look at each menu, and determine which one is the most appealing for your palate.
A French Restaurant can provide many things you may not be able to or know how to at home; a French atmosphere, a French waiter, an extensive wine list, and delicacies. This experience did not disappoint. We were able to try Foie Gras-only brave enough for the seared offering, brie with black truffle, duck, braised beef, and ended the meal with an apple and lemon tart. It was delicious and worth a drive back to the city for another visit in the future.
After dinner, we made our way home for the next adventure of the evening; the cheese plate.
Cheese Boards the French Way
Since the 13th century, the French have worked to perfect the skill of cheesemaking, so it's only fitting there would be a proper way to enjoy them. To enhance your French cheese plate experience, below are a few guidelines I found in my research that may differ from the average cheese boards you're used to seeing at parties or even American restaurants.
Other best practices you may be used to seeing on a typical charcuterie include serving cheese in odd numbers and at room temperature. For more tips on how to make a charcuterie board, click here.
My French Cheese Board
Navigating the right ingredients and pairings for recipes can be overwhelming when you're not familiar with other cultures' cuisines. Josh and I used this French cheese-tasting gift box for a stress-free way of creating this date night. It came with a variety of cheese types, petite toasts, and a cheese knife, the perfect starting point for me to plan and build our cheese board.
In this set, the four kinds of French cheeses included were Brie (soft), Chevre (goat), Agour Ossau-Iraty (hard), and Comté (hard). To experience all of the cheese, we did break the odd number rule, which proved to be the right decision after getting a taste of each one. We started with the brie, moved to the goat, and finished with the Comté and Agour Ossau-Iraty. Although we usually enjoy a good brie, the last one was our favorite.
Technically the petite toasts could be breaking the no cracker rule, but as someone that enjoys a little crunch, I went rogue and served them alongside some baguette and loaf slices.
Now I'm not a sommelier, but as I looked at my local wine stores and realized I wouldn't be able to obtain a regional wine for each cheese, I did some digging for a wine that would pair well with all the cheeses and settled on a Sauvignon Blanc. This wine enhanced the flavors of the cheese and highlighted the taste of the fig jam we had. It's a great option if your location or budget isn't conducive to buying three regional wines.
Baked Brie Recipe
Although this may break many of the French rules I outlined above, I couldn't do a post about brie without sharing our favorite way to enjoy it at home, which conveniently is very simple to make.
I hope our French date night adventure has inspired you to try one of your own. Be sure to include your favorite way to eat cheese in the comment section below.
Until next time,
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