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Cheese Flights in DC

The skyrocketing interest in regional food is mirrored by the number of cheese plates on DC menus. Paired with wine flights, this combo transports diners to nearby Virginia hillsides or farther afield to the likes of Napa, Mendoza or Tuscany.

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Blue Duck Tavern boasts a cheese and charcuterie expert on staff and the seal of approval from the Obamas, who had one of their famous date nights here.

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Blue Duck Tavern
Flock to this elegant mid-Atlantic kitchen inside the Park Hyatt Washington.

The team at this fine kitchen inside the Park Hyatt Washington is so committed to applauding the craft of regional food producers that each supplier gets marquee-style billing on the menu.  At the Blue Duck Tavern, the cheese flight is one of the stars of the dessert menu, a dish that easily rubs shoulders with the restaurant’s famous apple pie. Fresh and aged American cheeses also appear at the continental breakfast buffet and in the adjacent lounge as part of a nightly presentation on the tea-to-cocktail menu.

Charlie Palmer Steak prides itself on serving "big, bold American food," including aged Angus rib-eye and a range of seafood. Its wine list features over 600 American selections. Private dining space is available.

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Charlie Palmer Steak
Rub shoulders with power players at this Capitol Hill hot spot.

Diners in search of a power perch on Capitol Hill find exceptional service, fine American food and a wine list deep enough (3,500 bottles) to make the French blush at Charlie Palmer’s formal American restaurant located one block from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. A variety of artisanal American cheese is also available as flights of three and five selections with wines to match on the lounge’s fun-loving menu (think lobster corn dogs and mini burgers) and dessert menus.

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CityZen
Impress your date at this elegant eatery inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Romance abounds at this special-occasion American restaurant captained by Eric Zebold at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The atmosphere and service is as whisper-quiet as the wheels on their elegant cheese trolley. Here, multi-course meals are the norm. And really, once you’ve committed to six, why not add a seventh course? Discretely nod at your server to supplement a cheese flight. You select from the marbled, moldy and mild. And while you’re at it, add a wine flight to match. A cheese plate is also offered in the tony Empress Lounge during afternoon tea time, and after 8 p.m. on weekends when a jazz ensemble sets a date-worthy mood.

DC's oldest continually operating fresh food market, Eastern Market attracts visitors on weekends with produce, fresh flowers, baked goods and more.

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Eastern Market
This food market has filled ice boxes, refrigerators and picnic baskets since 1874.

The oldest public food market in the city is a trusted year-round source of cheeses. Make a beeline for Bowers Fancy Dairy Products and order a selection. This family-run stall has been offering a vast selection of fine international cheeses –and dolling out substantial samples since 1964. Consider them dairy ambassadors. Round out your food pyramid with stops at vendors like Market Lunch for crab cakes and soft shell crabs (in season), Canales Delicatessen for prosciutto, and Fine Sweet Shop for Bergman cookies to round out your food pyramid. Eastern Market is easily accessible by Metro and an easy walk to the U.S. Capitol, and the National Mall beyond.

Jaleo by José Andrés opened in DC's Penn Quarter in 1993 and quickly became a staple of the neighborhood. Known for its tapas and paellas, the restaurant underwent a stylish redesign in 2012.

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Jaleo
When it comes to tapas at Jaleo, the reign of Spain strays mainly from the plain.

The oldest public food market in the city is a trusted year-round source of cheeses. Make a beeline for Bowers Fancy Dairy Products and order a selection. This family-run stall has been offering a vast selection of fine international cheeses –and dolling out substantial samples since 1964. Consider them dairy ambassadors. Round out your food pyramid with stops at vendors like Market Lunch for crab cakes and soft shell crabs (in season), Canales Delicatessen for prosciutto, and Fine Sweet Shop for Bergman cookies. Eastern Market is easily accessible by Metro and an easy walk to the U.S. Capitol, and the National Mall beyond.

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Vinoteca Wine Bar and Bistro
Flights of wine, cheese and bocce balls set this U Street-area bistro apart from its neighbors.

This ingredient-driven wine bar in the “new” U neighborhood offers snacks, entrees, charcuterie and hefty cheese boards paired thoughtfully with wines. Some folks build an informal meal around a cheese flight, it’s easy to add “garnishes” like pickled vegetables, olives and toasted almonds or spicy-salty cashews. We recommend pairing the international cheeses with bocce balls. There are gravelly courts near the backyard bar (first-come, first-served). Pick up some tips for the locals and challenge new friends to a match. Just keep an eye on your Goat Gouda.