Frankly, my dear, I don't give edam.
November 27, 2012 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Help me give the gift of cheese! Particularly Spanish, French, or Greek.

This is a holiday gift for my boyfriend's brother and sister-in-law. They're food and wine lovers and excellent cooks, so you think it would be easy, but they're also recently married so they have every possible kitchen or home thing. Why not cheese? They are knowledgeable about cheese (and put together a mean cheese plate). No known allergies. They took a pretty thrilling sounding vacation this year to Spain and France, and also honeymooned recently in Greece, so we'd like to call back to those trips.

We'd like to get them something from a place like Zingerman's or Murray's, but there are a lot of cheese-by-mail options out there! Have you given or received a mind-blowing cheese gift? Which one is the best for a budget of about $100?

Alternately: What are the essentials of a good cheese gift? There are a few fancy cheese stores in our area, but if we're going to put together a cheese gift of our own we'd like to come armed with some ideas.

posted by troika to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My all time favorite cheese - Valdeon, which is a great spanish blue cheese. I buy it from Whole Foods- if you talk to the folks manning the cheese counter there they can help you find some other cheeses to go with it. Make sure to throw in some marcona almonds and fig spread as well.

Are they local to Murray's? You could give a gift certificate to a class there.
Cheese Classes
posted by lyra4 at 10:48 AM on November 27, 2012

Call Zingerman's Deli (Not the mail-order place, although they are very good) and ask to speak to Carlos about cheese.

Disclaimer: used to work there, still dream about it.
posted by gauche at 10:49 AM on November 27, 2012

I have a slate board from Brooklyn Slate Company. I love it.
posted by spec80 at 10:52 AM on November 27, 2012

We honeymooned in Spain a few years ago. The one item that really brings me back is Spanish jamon. (That could be an amazing gift but I think your budget is going to be too low.)

If you do go with a selection of Spanish cheeses (Idiazabal, Garrotxa, etc), include some marcona almonds and quince paste. Spanish olives would also be a good choice. Any high quality jams, honey (maybe some truffled honey?), or dried fruit are also classic accompaniments to cheese.

You could also take some inspirations from the gift baskets from Despana.
The Tasting Basket
Why not do a gastronomical tour of Spain? From sliced Jamondor Jamón, Imperial Chorizo, Turron, Olive Oil, Fried Marcona Almonds, Garrotxa, Mahon, Membrillo and more...basically this makes a beautiful AND delicious basket to give OR get! $129
posted by kathryn at 10:56 AM on November 27, 2012

Another favorite blue cheese (mine!) is St Agur. In the Boston area I find it in Whole Foods. So yummy and creamy...
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:05 AM on November 27, 2012

I think that Dean & DeLuca make several cheese-of-the-month clubs, and I know that they have both Spanish cheeses and also mixes of salamis and other meats from Spain and elsewhere, so you might find some promising combinations there; no promises on budget, but if it's not multiple mailings, it will be cheaper.

posted by acm at 11:06 AM on November 27, 2012

posted by subtle-t at 11:44 AM on November 27, 2012

Best answer: We've had delicious cheese and excellent service from regularly have specials and sales, so check their website to see what they're currently offering. If you go to the "cheese boards" page, they offer combinations of cheeses (sometimes with wine) that go well together. They have some Christmas sets right now that look pretty good.

Most of these have 3-4 different cheeses and seem to be priced around 45-50 euros before shipping.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:55 AM on November 27, 2012

Best answer: I was just popping in to promote as well. We got a cheese board as a gift for some friends who enjoyed it very much. It only took a day to get delivered from France to Houston and everyone was happy!
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 1:33 PM on November 27, 2012

I'm a bit of a cheese snob. So, if you were buying this gift for me the cheese snob, I would love it if you went to the local fancy cheese store and told them basically what you said here. Give them your budget, and the countries. If you know anything about the cheeses your relatives like or dislike (loves strong blues! dislikes goat's cheeses! etc), then that would help too. Note that $100 sadly doesn't go far in a good fancy cheese store, because imported cheeses are pricey.
posted by Joh at 3:39 PM on November 27, 2012

Alternative gift idea:

For my most recent birthday, my boyfriend paid for me to attend a one-night "Artisan Cheeses of the World" seminar at Boston University's Metropolitan College, taught by master cheesemonger Ihsan Gurdal of Cambridge's Formaggio Kitchen. Quite aside from the mouthwatering tastings, I had such a blast listening to Ihsan's funny, memorable, and frequently-surprising cheese stories. It was the best birthday present I've ever gotten.

I don't know where your friend is located, but if there are any culinary schools or cheese shops in the area, I'd call them up and inquire about classes. Best (and cheesiest) wishes! :)
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston at 7:00 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - we went with and the recipients were thrilled!
posted by troika at 2:35 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older You know I don't want to talk to you!   |   Unvaccinated children in the pediatricians office. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.