There are few food items able to put together two important factors: the gastronomic side and the nutritive richness… and cheese is one of them!
Fresh or cured, the eating moments are many and the choice is yours, depending on your preferences. It is common to be used as a dessert but it is also a great starter. It can be your breakfast or an afternoon snack!
The contents of cheese vary accordingly to the used milk. Nevertheless, in most cases one can find a high level of proteins, minerals and vitamins:
- The proteins found in cheese have a high biological level and are easy to digest, which means they are almost totally absorbed by our organism.
- One of the strongest minerals in cheese is calcium, with recognisable benefits in the formation of teeth, bones and cartilage therefore being an important food item during childhood and adolescence. Calcium also plays a relevant role in the prevention of Osteoporosis.
DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU SHOULD EAT FRESH CHEESE?
Fresh Cheese is one of the most common ingredients in the Mediterranean diet with a daily presence on the Portuguese table.
Queijos Santiago gives you five benefits connected to fresh cheese:
- It is a source of calcium and phosphorus, which helps the formation of bones, nails and teeth. It is a strengthening food item with high nutritional density.
- It is low on fat and calories, becoming essential for weight loss and balanced diets.
- It is a source of zinc which promotes hormonal balance, ideal to eat throughout the day and especially as a light snack before going to bed. Its nutrients are more easily absorbed than the ones from milk, due to fermentation in the making process, contributing for the health of children and grown-ups.
- If you are a sports player, you should have fresh cheese in your daily diet, because the low absorption proteins allow the body to easily recover from physical effort and have a suitable muscular contraction.
Cheese should be preserved in the fridge, wrapped in cling film, to avoid getting other flavours. After being wrapped it should be kept in a lid box. It is important to change the wrapping from time to time to keep the original properties of the cheese.
It isn’t advisable to freeze cheese, once this procedure changes the texture, taste and flavour of the product.
Some cheese need to be taken out of the fridge between 10 to 30 minutes before consumption so that their characteristics (such as colour, flavour, body) are enhanced. Fresh cheese should be eaten immediately after being removed from the cold.
In order to be appealing, a cheese board should respect the diversity concerning the flavour, texture, shape and colour of the selected cheese. Therefore, choose a diversity of textures and flavours, with hard, semi hard and soft cheese of different colours. Select between three to seven types of cheese.
Place the cheese in order (leaving some space between them to allow cutting) from the smoother to the stronger, encouraging a tasting that inspires the senses. The cheese can be presented in a wooden, clay slate or granite board or plate, materials that change neither the flavour nor the taste of cheese. The cheese should be presented out of the package and properly cut.
It is very important to have homemade bread on a cheese board. Besides the wheat homemade bread, one can choose rye bread, raisins bread, seeds bread or herbs bread. In a more contemporary version, one can add thin rusks or crackers that can be combined with jelly, jam and marmalade, almonds, nuts or hazelnuts that are classic on cheese boards, giving them texture and glamour.
Cheese and wine
The connection between cheese and wine is an old one, with the single purpose of enhancing and improving the taste of cheese when combined with wine. The secret lies in achieving the balance between both tastes. Here are some suggestions:
Red wine goes well with long cured cheese, like Serramonte or Três Igrejas. If the cheese has a reduced cure, as Regional or Atabafados, it is better to choose a lighter or fruitier red.
Goat cheese combines wonderfully with white wine or in the case of softer cheese with sparkling wine, especially Champagne.