A great picnic basket should be filled with a range of nibbles, says Mike Keuler, owner of So Damn Gouda in Sunnyside. He recommends starting with cheeses (no more than three). He likes to mix them up (maybe including a cheese that is soft but not so soft it will “form a puddle” in the heat; a salty, hard cheese like a cheddar, presliced; and a blue cheese), or “theming” the picnic with, say, a French wine and three French cheeses. He also recommends goat cheeses for picnics “because they have a nice acidity to them that adds a freshness to the spread.” Overall, he looks to create a balance of saltiness, acidity, and sweetness. Keuler’s shop, So Damn Gouda, specializes in cheese trays for private parties and corporate events and also hosts wine-and-cheese events.
The spread above, created by So Damn Gouda, includes three kinds of cheese (a double-cream baby brie from Longmont’s Haystack Mountain, a Blue d’Auvergne from France, and Drunken Higby from Moon Hill Dairy in Steamboat Springs), a cheese ball made of herbed goat cheese rolled in walnuts and fresh herbs, freshly toasted crostinis, Marcona almonds, sliced Il Porcellino salami, dried apricots and figs, Peppadew peppers from South Africa, mini gherkins and olives, and fresh grapes for a palate cleanser. To wash it all down, there’s an extra-dry Cava sparkling wine from Portugal and cans of Happy Leaf Kombucha, out of Edgewater.
So Damn Gouda
Cheese and gourmet food purveyor
2432 W. 44th Ave.