Despite being a food writer, there are times when I can't possibly bring myself to cook yet I desire a rich, robust meal. That's when I turn to a good, hardy block of cheese (like the Point Reyes Toma, pictured) and a fresh sourdough baguette from The Acme Bread Company. If I'm being completely honest, I'd probably even request cheese and a baguette as my last meal or stranded-on-a-desert-island option. Most will eat it as an appetizer, but I encourage you to make a meal out of it.
This is your cheese meal, and it's crucial to go to a place that can help you determine the cheese of your dreams for the day. At a specialty cheese shop, you'll find certified cheesemongers who not only store, cut, and package the cheese with care, but also help you navigate the dizzying stacks of cheese. Cheese changes its flavor with the seasons and depending on what the cows are eating. Because cheesemongers see, taste, and know the best products in their cooler, they'll be able to suggest the best to you. The only question you need to ask is this: "What cheese will blow my mind today?" Once you've taste-tested a few, it's time to package up a sliver of your favorite (1/4 pound should be sufficient) and move on to the sides.
Most cheese stores will sell fresh bread, so pick up a baguette to pair with your cheese. Wine and cheese are a classic combo, but if you're rocking this meal solo or are consuming it for lunch, then opt for sparkling water instead. The bubbles and minerality help cut the fat of the cheese. Next, chop up some red breakfast radishes or, even better, watermelon radishes; their astringency balances out the rich cheese. Or if you prefer something sweet, then go for fresh fruit like grapes, cherries, peaches, or apples.
Now you're ready to dine on a deserving meal of cheese and a baguette!