June is Dairy Month: a great time for a summer cheese plate and cool sandwiches. We’ve got easy picnic recipes you’ll need to enjoy your dairy best June!
Is there a more perfect month than June? That’s obviously a bit subjective, but there’s a reason it’s been the most popular month for weddings for decades. June boasts pretty consistently warm weather, even at northern latitudes, but typically without the stifling heat and humidity (and bugs) of the July and August “dog days”.
June has also traditionally been prime time for dairy products. Cows are out to pasture and at the peak of milk production—both in quantity and quality—and there’s simply no better time of year to enjoy a tall glass of cold milk, a cool cheese sandwich, or a brimming bowl of ice cream. No wonder June is National Dairy Month…in fact, there are a couple of special days within June where you can let your cheese flag fly!
Summer Cheese Plate for National Cheese Day
June 4 is National Cheese Day, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by getting together with friends over a delicious cheese plate. It’s very easy to do; just keep these general tips in mind:
- Offer a variety of textures. You don’t need more than three or four cheeses—especially if you offer complementary snacks—but keep it interesting with a mix of soft-ripened (such as Brie), washed-rind (such as Limburger), semisoft (Havarti, Muenster), firm (Swiss, Cheddar) and hard (Parmesan) cheeses. Serve each with its own knife to keep the delicate flavors separate.
- Same for the accompaniments. Put out bread and crackers (preferably both) to complement the cheeses. Soft, spreadable cheeses are perfect on crusty bread (like a baguette), while hard cheeses work best on a cracker. Charcuterie, such as summer sausage, salami or prosciutto, adds savory interest and substance. Fruits and fruit preserves, olives and mixed nuts complete the presentation.
- Know what to drink. Not every wine or beer goes well with every cheese. If you want to save on beverages, you can select a variety of cheeses around a particular wine or beer, or find a small variety of drinks that complement the cheeses you have. Wisconsin Cheese Cupid is a handy pairing guide.
- Plan ahead. Cheeses are best at room temperature, so be sure to take them out of the fridge an hour before serving. Also, if you order cheese online, many of your favorites may not be shippable when temperatures are too warm. Find out what’s available, place your order, and plan the rest of the menu.
Easy Picnic Recipes for International Picnic Day
June 18 is International Picnic Day…and who doesn’t love a picnic?
You could enjoy a truly international date for two by having a French-style picnic: a wedge of your favorite cheese, a knife and cutting board, a crusty baguette and a bottle of wine. Pack it in the old-fashioned wicker picnic hamper with a checkered tablecloth, and head for a secluded park. If you want to put forth a little effort and transform that baguette into a flavor-packed appetizer, this Crabby Pico do Gallo Bruschetta is delightful with a Sauvignon Blanc or a sparkling Champagne or Asti Spumante.
To make your picnic a family affair, change the wine to a nice sparkling cider and pack sandwiches and a salad. This New Age Egg Salad Sandwich is classic picnic fare, and we have plenty of great ideas using cheese for salad.
If your idea of alfresco dining is a picnic in your own backyard, fire up the grill and make it a cookout! We’re happy to recommend the best cheeses for cheeseburgers.
Summer Cheese Recipes for National Dairy Month
There are plenty of ways to enjoy dairy products in this month of fabulous food.
Before planning your celebration, kick back with a tall glass of milk and learn some fun facts about dairy foods.