udy Volhart
Whine and Cheese Bistro Mysteries
When the wine meets the Lips and the cheese hits the Hips....                                    
Book 1: Asiago & The Accomplice
Book 2: Ice Whine & Irish Cheddar
Book 3: Feta & the Fat Bastard
Book 4: Swiss Cheese & Sibling Rivalry
The Platter
 
Just like Amalia in her Bistro, I'm an avid fan of cheese and salami platters.   Although there's many tips, or suggestions, that we can follow, my best tip is to simply put out those that you like. That way, if there's leftovers, you're not stuck trying to choke down something that you find vile.
 
As far as a "pro" tip goes though, you should count on one to two ounces of cheese per person and you'll want to choose at least three varieties.  Typically, there's suggestions for before dinner, after, etc,  but as a beginner, try starting off with a mild, medium and a bold cheese. 
 
Mild: herbed goat cheese, brie or mild cheddar and many

Medium or a bit bolder:  a creamy, salty Feta, gruyere or fresh Asiago

Bold or sharp: Gorgonzola, Stilton or anything with blue in it or if it's called "aged"
 
Serve with your favorite crusty bread and/or crackers, add a handful of grapes, strawberries or nuts and you can't go wrong. Unless someone is allergic to nuts.

 Don't be afraid to try different things as a serving platter, such as a clean, rustic piece of wood, cutting boards or crystal platters. 
 
My salami picks: pepperseed or mustard seed salami, a red wine infused salami, if available in your area, and naturally a hot or spicy Hungarian salami, sliced thin.


 
The Accomplice Shiraz is a red, medium bodied wine with layers of juicy ripe red fruits and a bouquet of red berries and cinnamon.  It is an Australian product by De Bortoli Wines.

This wine was chosen as part of the book title for two reasons: one, because of the whole "accomplice" angle that tied in well with what was going on in the book and two, simply because the label amused me.
 
Other available Accomplices are the Sweet Escape Red and in the "white" family, Chardonnay, Moscato,semillon sauvignon Blanc, and Sweet Escape White.
 
 
 
Asiago Cheese is derived from cow's milk and was the chosen cheese for the second part of the title because it sounded good with The Accomplice. I did, however, buy several varieties to taste test (sigh, this job is so difficult). My favorite was a fresh Asiago with a smooth texture that can be sliced thin and enjoyed on a cracker. I did not care for the aged and crumbly variety. It was also quite tasty grated overtop a nice pile of spaghetti and meatballs.
 
Irish Cheddar is usually white/light coloured and ranges in flavour from mild to pungent. It is made from milk that is curdled and kneaded with salt then the curds are packed into blocks for aging.  

Feta cheese, very common in Greek dishes, is a brined white cheese, made from sheep's milk or a mixture of sheep and goat's milk. It is crumbly in texture and normally has a salty tang to it.