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The Cheese Plate

A cheese plate is the perfect greeting for guests as they walk in door, a welcome contribution to a dinner party, or potluck offering. Cheese plates can be artful, with lots of room for improvisation.

It is a good rule of thumb to include a variety of textures and flavors. Most cheese belongs to one of four basic categories: aged, soft, firm, or blue. For a good variety, choose at least one from each group:


     Aged: Aged Cheddar, Comte, Goat Gouda
     Soft: Cowgirl Creamery Fromage Blanc, Montchevre Cranberry Goat
              Cheese Log,  Constant Bliss, Camembert, Brillat-Savarin 

     Firm: Manchego, Mimolette, Parmigiano-Reggiano
     Blue: Gorgonzola Dolce, Valdeón, Stilton, Rocquefort 


You can also vary the type of milk used. Try selecting one from all three: cow, goat, and sheep. This will ensure a range of different flavors on the plate.  


     Cow: Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk or Chimney Rock,  

     Goat: Larua Chenels Chevre, Cypress Grove Humbolt Fog, Busheron  

     Sheep: Manchego, Cypress Grove's Lamb Chopper,


Always serve at least one familiar cheese for your less adventuresome guests. And if there will be children invited, consider making a separate plate with the milder flavors.

Vary the types of crackers, and include spreads and condiments such as:


     Crackers: La Panzanella's Croccantini, Raincoast Crisps 

     Spreads:  Piedmont's Own Cranberry or Red Pepper Spread, Stonewall
                      Kitchen Truffle Aioli   

     Condiments: Olives, Cornichons, Fresh Figs, Marcona Almonds  


The Wine Inquirer has created this great chart on wine and cheese pairing that will help you select the wines to go with your plate. Click on it to enlarge. 


When in doubt, or if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask your experts at our cheese counter. 


Piedmont Grocery has a great selection of cheeses on special for the Thanksgiving holiday, including: 
Reggiano Parmesan for $17.99 per pound
Sartori Bella Vitano with Balsamic for $18.99 per pound 
Sartori Bella Vitano with Chai for $18.99 per pound 
Sartori Bella Vitano with Merlot for $18.99 per pound  
Fromager D'Affinois with Truffles for $22.99 per pound. 
Wykes English Cheddar for $14.99 per pound 
Piedmont's Own Cranberry Spread for $6.99 per pound  
Piedmont's Own Pimento Spread for $7.99 per pound  
Piedmont's Own Red Pepper Spread for $6.99 per pound

Download a PDF of This Week's Specials


We are posting one pie recipe on Facebook and Twitter every day during the month of November. Check out our Pie Month list, and you will have no problem finding the perfect pie for you holiday feast!

Follow us on Facebook, or Twitter, or both for daily updates and recipes.


How to Make the Perfect Pie Crust: Thanksgiving Recipes Melissa Clark 

Watch this great video...


Vendor of the Month

Christine's Upper Crust Pies 

November is Pie Month!

Christine's Upper Crust makes pies the way Mother did: lovingly by hand, and from scratch.  


They're local (Marin-based), and made in small batches using authentic, quality ingredients with attention to detail. She uses great recipes, so the crust is buttery and flaky, and full of fresh fruit and berries.


Christine's offers some of the best gluten-free pies available, and you can pick up both wheat and gluten-free crusts in our freezer department to make your own. Read More... 


Featured Product
KL Keller Brine Mix   

A Staff Favorite

So many brine mixes are available, but Oakland-based KL Keller is our favorite. A magical combination of dried herbs and spices combined with outstanding Spanish sea salt ensures a moist, tender roast.  


Their one pound pack is enough to brine a 14-18 pound turkey. The blend contains sage, coriander, bay, black pepper and a pinch of chili flakes-but don't worry, it's not spicy.


The folks at KL Keller are salt aficionados, and they make this mix with unprocessed sea salt. It leaves a clean, briny flavor that brings out the best in any roast. There are no anti-caking or flowing agents. No additives means a clean ocean flavor with small, quick-dissolving salt grains.



Autumn Salad with Apples, Comté, and Hazelnuts 

From Amy and our "What's For Dinner Wednesday" recipe blog 


The Big Cheese

Cheese is good. I have always been a big fan of cheese in many forms, though I DO draw the line at spray cheese. ( My sister, on the other hand...)And don't forget the Earthquake Velveta  buried in the back of my Mom's  pantry. Uh, no thanks. I would rather perish!


Around the holidays I find that I eat much more cheese than usual. (Of course I am eating a lot more than usual of a lot of things, but it's the holidays, who am I to fight tradition?)


Cheese is one of the easiest things to nibble on at parties, and since there are numerous parties during this time, the chances of finding oneself in front of a cheese plate or creamy baked brie are pretty good. In fact a cheese plate with an assortment of interesting and not your everyday cheeses is my easy,  go-to potluck contribution. (It's also a great way to get a conversation going, "This cheese is awesome!" "Oh, what is it?")


There are plenty of ways to incorporate some really good cheese into your holiday meals. Cheesy dips are a no-brainer and cheese balls are always festive. (The real ones. Not the neon orange things, and not your Uncle Bob.)


One of my favorite ways to enjoy a little cheesy decadence is in a salad. Most people add goat cheese, or feta, or even crumbled blue to their salads- which is great, but don't under estimate the power of a good, nutty Parrano Gouda or Emmenthaler. When cut into matchstick sized pieces and tossed into mixed greens with some dried cranberries or cherries, these hard cheeses are darn good.


A favorite salad with cheese is this Autumn Salad with Apples and Comte. The Cider vinaigrette alone is straw worthy. This dish would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving table or any other celebration.


Get the recipe for Autumn Salad with Apples, Comté, and Hazelnuts...


In This Issue
Special Cheeses
Pie Month
The Perfect Pie Crust
Vendor of the Month
What's Hot
Autumn Salad with Apples, Comté and Hazelnuts
What's For Dinner Wednesday
Quick Links







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