Thanksgiving is this week, and Christmas barely over a month away! Delicious smoked turkey, juicy prime rib, green bean casseroles, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing….the list goes on of popular holiday foods. We think you should add cheese to your list of traditional holiday foods! Here are some reasons why, and also some suggestions of how to serve cheese before/during/after the meal (basically all day HEHE!).
Cheese is high in saturated fat (which is not a bad thing folks), so it is is responsible for feelings of fullness that help curb appetite. It also raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which is one of the most important markers of heart health. It is also high in protein, which is another nutrient responsible for making you feel full and curbing appetite. Protein also helps you build muscle. You've been told to drink more milk to build strong bones. Well now you can get that calcium in a tastier form – even for those who may be lactose intolerant. In addition to building stronger bones, the calcium from cheese is also important for brain health and blood clotting. Cheese is also high in Vitamin A (the yellowish tint you see in grass-fed cheese and butter is Vitamin A), which is an important antioxidant and nutrient.
If you aren’t convinced of the health benefits of cheese yet, we have more to tell you. Cheese is also high in phosphorus, and it has proven weight loss benefits! Several studies (conducted mainly in Sweden) show that whole-fat dairy products have superior weight loss properties compared to low and no-fat products. Cheese helps regulate blood sugar. Whether you're diabetic or simply trying to avoid the tiredness that results from binging on carbs, you'd do well to start eating more cheese... It is also rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)-- a little-known type of fat that may have big consequences for your health. And last, but not least, cheese is a great source of omega-3 fats, which you have surely heard all the health benefits around them (think flax seed). We got a lot of these facts from http://www.myhealthwire.com/news/food/847 and want to make sure that we give them credit for the information.
Ok, now that you are fully convinced of why you should eat cheese (like you needed an excuse), here are some great suggestions for holiday serving. We will start with what cheeses go with what beverages (compliments of http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/12/the-best-cheeses-for-holiday-entertaining-cheese-pairing-wine-beer-champagne.html). A few general guidelines to start with are that sweet beverages in general pair well with saltier, more aggressive cheeses, and subtle ones require more balanced and nuanced ones from the cheeses. Bubbles will complement dense, rich creamy cheeses, and go particularly well with those made from goat's milk.
We personally think that a good raclette is one of the best appetizers you can serve, and the presentation will surely get your guests talking—just check out the photos. It’s like a mini grilled cheese on a cracker, good bread, veggies, or your choice of meat. Next year for Christmas, you can even serve our East Hill Raclette style cheese (Betty has made a few good test versions in her kitchen). Gruyere makes a great addition to any cheese plate, as it has a mild flavor and will surely please anyone’s palette. And again, you can serve East Hill Gruyere style cheese with any cheese plate and it will be sure to please.
We hope you enjoyed the information and reasons why you should serve cheese with your holiday meal. And also, we hope that you got some good suggestions for a great appetizer this year (you will not disappoint with the melted raclette style cheese!). Tell us your favorite holiday food---we want to hear from you! Thank you for reading this week!