Your Holiday Cheese Board Isn't Complete Without This Festive Addition
I know it's not a competition, but there's always a dish at the holiday party that wins. You know, the one that guests start asking "Who made that?!" and that serves as a conversation piece when you're catching up with the cousins you see once a year ("Did you try Aunt Linda's bean dip yet??") I sometimes aspire to be the person who brings that dish, but more often I look forward to stumbling upon it in the sea of festive fare.
This year, though, I've found a crown jewel for our holiday spread: La Noix d'Argental. This French cow's milk cheese is aged for six weeks and regularly washed with walnut liquor. In fact, "la noix" means "the nut" in French, and as the product detail page describes it features "warm notes of freshly baked bread and toasted walnuts." With all due respect to Murray's, I think that's a dramatic undersell. This cheese distinctly and delightfully tastes just like butterscotch. Notice I didn't say "notes of butterscotch"—the resemblance is far more striking than that would indicate.
To buy: La Noix d'Argental, $45/lb at murrayscheese.com
La Noix d'Argental is like something dreamed up in Willy Wonka's factory—a cheese that is somehow also a candy. Of course, this unique cheese is not as sweet as a Werther's Original. Because the flavor is so evocative of butterscotch, it possesses something like a phantom sweetness. It's buttery, toasty, and maple-y, yet decidedly savory.
All of these traits make La Noix d'Argental a winning centerpiece for a holiday cheese board. Serve it with nuts, dried fruit, and crostini, or gild the lily with accompaniments as outstanding as the cheese itself. Lean into the candy theme with Moka Pecans, cocoa- and coffee-coated caramelized pecans that could compete with La Noix for holiday spread champion. Add slices of richly-hued bresaola to keep your cheese board from leaning too sweet. And to cut through all that richness while further bejeweling your board, include strawberry Italian plum rosewater jam and sun-dried cherries.
While I know it's not a contest, I still get a little thrill thinking about how much my friends and family are going to enjoy this special cheese at our Christmas party. From that perspective, it's only a competition if it's the kind that everyone wins.