Artisanal cheeses, which are crafted by hand using traditional methods, boast exceptional flavor. They're ideal for serving when time is at a premium, because they need only a loaf of crusty bread and perhaps some fresh or dried fruit as an accompaniment. Just open a bottle of wine and you have the makings for an impromptu party.
You can also serve a cheese tray after the main course, a European custom that is becoming popular in the United States. It's a nice alternative to rich desserts. Guests can linger at the dinner table and enjoy their cheese with the last sips of wine.
At Williams-Sonoma, we offer some of the finest artisanal cheeses from Europe and the United States. It's easy to keep several on hand in your refrigerator. Depending on whether they are fresh or aged, they will last for one to four weeks or more. With so many types available, the hardest thing you'll have to do is decide which ones to serve.