Reinventing Cheese And Crackers, California-Style

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New Takes On A Classic Combo Featuring California Cheeses

(April 24, 2006) Cheese and crackers are crowd-pleasers at any party, and part of their charm for the host or hostess is the ease with which these appetizers come together for last-minute entertaining.

For something deliciously different, try these tasty combinations developed by the California Milk Advisory Board that reinvent this popular duo as bite-sized interpretations of traditional deli sandwiches featuring popular California cheeses. All use ingredients that are easy to find in supermarkets, and the melted cheese versions can be prepared hours ahead for last-minute heating in the oven.

The Baby Reuben is a tiny version of the hefty Reuben sandwich, yet it packs enough authentic flavor to satisfy your corned beef-and-Swiss cravings. Cheddar fans can indulge in Cheddar Bacon Melts, where the texture of melted cheese mingles deliciously with bits of crunchy bacon. Hot Ham n' Swiss is a tasty take on the classic meat-and-cheese combination.

If you prefer cold cheese and crackers, you'll gobble up Turkey Jack Barbecue, which showcases a California original cheese - Monterey Jack. And the Italian Sub caters to those who want to spice up their life, with creamy Provolone or Mozzarella balancing the piquant peperoncini in a colorful presentation.

California is the nation's leading milk producer and also produces more butter, ice cream, yogurt and nonfat dry milk than any other state. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese and is home to more than 50 cheesemakers who produce 250 varieties and styles. For more information on California cheese, visit