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  • Kim Kimbrough

Baby on (cheese)board

Announcing a baby "on board" is cause for celebration and these days it is common for friends and family want to congratulate the parents-to-be with a delicious cheeseboard! But what items are safe for mama and baby to eat?


With a generation of Coronials on the way, I've started to receive this question a lot, so I compiled a list of easy to follow guidelines, along with a pregnancy-safe shopping list, so you can gift or consume a pregnancy-safe cheeseboard with confidence. After all, cheese is an excellent source of calcium, fat and protein, as well as high in vitamins A and B12, so it always deserves a spot at the table.

Guidelines


1. Pasteurized cheese is OK to consume

Pasteurization is a form of food processing that kills off any pathogenic bacteria that could be potentially harmful. The cheeses listed below are usually pasteurized and safe to consume while pregnant.


Hard: Cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Manchego, Gouda, Gruyere, Pecorino, Lancashire, Harvarti

Soft: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Boursin, Goat cheese without the rind, Feta, Halloumi


2. Unpasteurized (or raw milk), soft mold-ripened or blue-veined cheese is NOT safe to consume

These types of cheeses can be contaminated with listeria - a harmful bacteria that can cause listeriosis - and should be avoided. Generally speaking, imported cheeses are more likely to be unpasteurized than domestic cheeses.


Avoid: Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, Chèvre, Roquefort, Goat cheese with the rind, Queso Fresco


Note: Technically, hard cheese made from unpasteurized milk is considered safe to eat (due to the low moisture content), but in my opinion it's better to play it safe and steer clear if the label lists unpasteurized milk as an ingredient.


3. ALWAYS check the label

Or ask the Cheesemonger behind the counter if you have questions. They are super knowledgeable and friendly and are there to guide you.


4. Leave the charcuterie for the "Dad-to-be"

Prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, soppressata, etc. are all cured meats, meaning they are not cooked, and can harbor parasites. I'm sure "Dad" would appreciate some meat though, so don't write these off completely!

Note: Deli meats and pâtés should also be avoided.


5. Load up on fruits and veggies

Not only are these items safe, but they are full of vitamins and nutrients beneficial to mom and baby.


6. Have fun with pairings

Nuts, olives, jams, honey, dried fruit, crackers, bread, etc. are all pregnancy approved items, so don't be afraid to be creative with your accoutrements.


My favorite "safe" pairings

  • Manchego + Grainy Mustard

  • Gouda + Smoked Almonds

  • Cheddar + Apple + Wildflower Honey

  • Whipped Ricotta + Berries

  • Cheddar + Dark Chocolate

Pregnancy-safe shopping list

Cheese: Manchego, Cheddar, Marinated Mozzarella balls, Aged Gouda

Charcuterie (for guests only): Calabrese, Prosciutto, Salami

Fresh Fruit: Blackberries, Apple, Blueberries, Grapes

Dried Fruit: Apricots, Cranberries, Dried Figs

Crunch: Marcona Almonds, Pickled Veggies, Olives, Cheese Straws, Crackers or Baguette

Spreads: Grainy Mustard, Flavored Honey

Sweet: Dark Chocolate

Garnish: Fresh Herbs or Edible Flowers


Post pregnancy shopping list

*All the cheese

*All the charcuterie

*All the wine

Cheers!

Charleston, SC, USA

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