Monday, November 26, 2012

Eating Whole Foods: The Holiday Cheese Plate & A Giveaway

Living on the east coast and frequenting the multitude of cheese shops there has spoiled me.  Here in Phoenix we don't have that luxury; cheese shops are few and far between. So when I was looking to create a slightly different kind of cheese plate and needed to talk with someone who knew their product I headed to Whole Foods Market.

I wanted a few cheeses that could all stand alone, no crackers, bread or meat needed. Maybe a breadstick for a little crunch and a jam for a little sweetness.  The cheese man at Whole Foods steered me immediately toward the Drunken Goat. A crowd pleaser for sure is how he described it. A semi-firm goat cheese cured in wine it had a mildly fruity flavor; both sweet and sharp at the same time.

The 2nd cheese he suggested was the Lamb Chopper, a Dutch Gouda made from sheep milk. I found this one to be very mild in flavor...buttery would be how I'd describe it.  The Lamb Chopper paired nicely with the warm marinated olives (recipe below) we served along side.




The last cheese he recommended was both the most expensive and the most delicious.  Gabietou is a semi-soft French cheese made from a combination of sheep and cows milk. It has a melt in your mouth texture that leaves hints of nuts on your palate.

To this mix I added my longtime favorite cheese; provolone, some herb roasted mixed nuts, sea salt bread sticks, fudge and an Adriatic fig spread.  I loved the spread and can picture so many uses for it; like layered with fontina to make a grilled sandwich or as a dip for apple slices.

I was really happy with the way the plate turned out and thankful to have Whole Foods Market as a place to shop for cheese in my area.

There's a Giveaway!

Want to win a $25 gift card to Whole Foods Market?  Just leave a comment on this post.

For an additional entree like Whole Foods Market Scottsdale on Facebook and leave another comment here letting me know you did. Contest ends at midnight on 12/3.  Winner will be announced on the blog. 


Marinated Olives

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 fresh  bay leaf
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
 2 cups mixed olives

Combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and pepper flakes in a skillet. Cook gently over low to moderately low heat for about 5 minutes to release the flavor of the seasonings; do not let the garlic color.

Add the olives and cook gently until they are hot throughout, about 5 minutes. Let cool until they are just a little warm, then serve.

Olives are best served slightly warm.

49 comments:

  1. Oooh... I have always wanted to make marinated olives. Mushrooms too! Thanks for the recipe.

    And if I win, I'll spend the entirety of my gift card on CHEESE!

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  2. We are big fans of an assortment of cheeses and olives. I love shopping at Whole Foods.

    bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

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  3. Drunken goat sounds intriguing.
    I just had Italian fontina, from Val d'Aosta in Italy, and it was amazing.

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  4. Cheese trays are my favorite appetizers and I love cheese from Whole Foods. Thanks for the chance!

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  5. I loooove cheese..hey I'm from Wisconsin it would be wrong if I didn't right? I've also found doing a plate like this is the perfect, relatively low cost, appetizer platter - not to mention it's so fast to put together with limited prep work! amanda@marocmama dot com

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  6. Cheese and olives - what could be better?

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  7. Mmmm!! Looks beautiful. You are always making me hungry.

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  8. There's just something amazing about cheese and crackers - and jam!

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  9. I love doing cheese trays for the holidays. I like putting different types of pickles, hot peppers and mustards with the tray also. Warm homemade pretzels always add a little something to it ....oh yum!

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  10. Left a post on Whole Foods Market Scottsdale page as a comment under your post

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  11. Cheese and olives my favorite combination.Perfect idea for any party.

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  12. I love the cheese department at Whole Foods. Did you know that Whole Foods is on the cutting edge and a frontrunner with having their cheese professionals certified? The certification is very new, but Whole Foods was right on it! http://culturecheesemag.com/news/seventy_certified_cheesemongers_whole_foods_yahoo

    I love trying new cheeses at Whole Foods. I have one right near me, and I've taken their cheese classes, too.

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  13. Gotta love cheese and olives! Makes the best appetizer! Thanks!

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  14. Also like Whole Foods Scottsdale on Facebook too! Thanks!

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  15. Mmmm....nothing like a cheese platter. Great selection!

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  16. Cheese and Olives! A match made in heaven!

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  17. Oh Wow! What a yummy treat! My two favorite snacks too - delicious olives and cheese!
    Georgiana

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  18. Choosing a cheese platter or a shrimp platter from Whole Foods is a great way to have something terrific for almost any holiday need, for people to snack on and compliment your good taste. They'll feel pampered and all you did was drive to the local Whole Foods and pick up a platter!!!

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  19. The olive choices at Whole Foods is wonderful. I especially love the mix they make at the store with garlic and lemon. But I also love cured olives, and many others. It makes a platter special.

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  20. This is the best way to start a party any time of the year!

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  21. I just left a comment on The Whole Foods Scottsdale FB Page. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  22. Wow, your holiday cheese plate looks amazing!!! Love it!!

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  23. I still pinch myself to believe I actually have a Whole Foods so close to me I'm there almost every day! I grew up near an Italian store, and I have to admit I LOVE Provolone, too, esp high quality, sliced paper thin. They had a class for Spanish cheeses at Whole Foods, I'm hoping they'll have one for Italian. I wonder what disappeared the fastest and the mostest of your cheese platter

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  24. Marinated Olives are great in Martini's, especially pickle infused Vodka from 303 Distillery, Boulder Colorado!

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  25. would love to win this!! thanks!

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  26. I liked Whole Foods Market Scottsdale

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  27. I have never shopped at Whole Foods and would love to. Your tray looks wonderful and yummy. I know I will be making a cheese tray for Christmas.

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  28. I'm awed by Whole Foods cheese department. Also, they have so many good crackers and artisan jams and organic fruit that would complete a nice tray for a party. I also adore all their juices, and instead of booze, I only have 100% juice - concord grape, carrot, cherry, mmmm! so good with cheese 'n crackers.

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  29. Liked and shared a comment with Whole Foods market Scottsdale on Facebook!
    Barb S. (barbs562 AT gmail DOT com)

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  30. Hi Theresa! You've got a new e-mail subscriber and facebook follower from FL now! My whole family loves Lamb Chopper, It's such a tasty cheese (and that includes our 13 year old son!)! I love manchego, too! We like trying different cheeses from Whole Foods and our local Southern chain, Publix!

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  31. I'd love to win and bring this plate for xmas appetizers

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  32. Facebook Fan of Whole Foods Scottsdale(Tami Simoneaux)

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  33. I like Whole Foods Market Scottsdale on FB
    elena150980@yahoo.com

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  34. I love cheese and Whole Foods!


    elena150980@yahoo.com

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  35. I can't really have cheese on my diet, but on my treat days, cheese is such a guilty pleasure.

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  36. I like Whole Foods Market Scottsdale on FB (Nicole B.)

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  37. What a beautiful cheese plate, lovely presentation! My husband and I were just saying how we need to make a cheese plate and have a nice date night at home!

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  38. I'm always looking to try new cheeses and these sound fantastic!

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  39. I like Whole Foods Scottsdale on FB too

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  40. Cheese and Olives a match made in heaven!

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  41. Mmmm...nothing better than a cheese platter. I think your selection looks awesome!

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  42. Did you know that Whole Foods is on the leading edge with having their cheese salespeople professionally certified? It is relatively new, but very exciting. I love learning new cheeses and I've taken some of thei cheese classes at our local Whole Foods store. http://culturecheesemag.com/news/seventy_certified_cheesemongers_whole_foods_yahoo

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  43. I "like" Whole Foods Market in Scottsdale!

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  44. I would love to win! I love Whole Foods and their cheese selection is amazing!

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