Category Archives: Cheese

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VIDEO: How To Style A Cheese Platter (In Under 1 Minute!)

CHEESE PLATTER IDEAS: THE ART OF THE CHEESE BOARD

cheeseboard

You’ve got your favorite cheeses delivered, now, how do you put it together?

There’s an art to assembling a cheese board that goes beyond unpacking the cheeses and plunking them down on a platter or board with a few crackers. It’s all about proportions, balance, textures, colors and flavors – art!

We found this fabulous video by Sal Henley for British supermarket giant, Tesco. We loved – and you will too – the cheese platter ideas she gives us to help make our cheese board look not only delicious, but beautiful. She demonstrates how to slice the cheeses, to how to arrange fruit, plus other practical tips for beautifying your cheeses and impressing your guests at your next dinner party.

Video source: Tesco

Short on time? Then this 60-second  how-to video by HGTV was made for you. Learn how to easily (and quickly!) arrange a cheese platter in 1 minute!

Video source: HGTV

 

Cheese Platter Ideas: Tips & Tricks

Hosts and hostesses, entertainers and foodies, take note:

Take the cheeses out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before guests arrive – this brings the fromage to room temperature, allowing the flavors and aromas to develop.

Have at least three cheeses, but no more than five. You want to offer your guests variety, but not overwhelm their palates.

Mix textures, flavors and colors.  A successful cheese board has at least three distinct cheeses. If you’re offering a palate-pleaser like cheddar, then contrast with a soft, gooey Brie and maybe a crumbly blue cheese. Or, divide it up by country, and offer samplings from France, Italy, Spain, the US and perhaps England. However you do it, you want variety on your board.

Pair wisely.  When it comes to the accouterments of the cheese board, think in easy categories: breads, nuts and fruits. A handful of almonds, a bunch of grapes, and a fresh baguette are cheese’s best friends, and you can never go wrong with that. But if you want to get more creative, add jams, chutneys and honey (even honeycomb) – the latter goes especially well with blue cheese and goat cheese. More exotic breads are also fantastic on a cheeseboard, but only if they’re not herbed or flavored (this will cover up the flavor of the cheese itself).

summer cheese platter

Summer Cheese Platter Ideas:

Chèvre + fresh thyme
Goat Cheese + fig  preserves
Brie + strawberries
Feta + watermelon
Blue cheese + honeycomb
Manchego + Membrillo (quince paste)
Sheep’s milk cheese + cherry compote
Cheddar + fresh apples + fruit chutney
Parmigiano Reggiano + Aged Balsamic + strawberries
Mozzarella di Bufala + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + fresh basil
Gorgonzola or Roquefort + Honey
Saint Andre + fresh berries
Comte + cherries
Explorateur + fresh peaches
Asiago + mango

Do you have a fabulous cheese platter tip to share? Leave it in the comments! 

boucherondin cheese

Top 5 Classic Wine-and-Cheese Pairings: A short and sweet wine-matching guide to the most popular cheeses on the cheese plate

wine rack2

In order for a wine and cheese pairing to be successful, you have to perfectly marry the texture, the degree of acidity, the flavor (obviously), and the fat content of the cheese to the flavor profile of the wine. To get it wrong is to destroy the enjoyment of the cheese, not to mention wasting a perfectly good bottle of wine.  Food and wine pairing is truly an art form, which is why a truly exceptional sommeliers a rare and precious thing.

It can be an intimidating feat, but there’s no reason to panic and run to the nearest sommelier class (although, why not, that could be fun!). There’s also no need to wander the wine aisles of the supermarket like a lost puppy in search of its owner. There are certain wine and cheese pairings that are foolproof, time-tested, and guaranteed to impress your guests and enhance your cheese plate.

1. Chevres or “goat cheeses”

Goat cheeses have a very acidic flavor and fresh aroma, and have a great richness to them with creamy, velvety texture, like Crottin, Caprifeuille and Bucherondin. Red wines tend to be to rich and complex, overwhelming the palate.  The best way to go is with whites, especially, crisp, fruity and light wines that cut through the richness of the cheese, balancing it out, letting you refresh the palate for the next bite.

The classic pairing: Sancerre and Chenin Blanc.
You can also try: Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Try: Goat Cheese Selection

2. Brie & Camembert

Brie has become a staple on the cheese plate, beloved for it’s creamy and velvety texture, and a mild flavor that pleases all palates. It’s also extremely versatile, as this soft cheese can pair wonderfully with light and medium-bodied red wines with lots of fruitiness to it, or with a bright, sparkling bubbly.

Brie Mon Sire

Brie Mon Sire

The classic pairing: Pinot Noir and Champagne.
You can also try: Merlot, Beaujolais, Rose.
Try: Brie Mon Sire  >
Try: Camembert Le Bocage >

3. Stilton & Gorgonzola

gorgonzola dolce

gorgonzola dolce

Blue cheese can vary wildly, from creamy to crumbly, to rich and dense, so we chose one of the most representative for the cheese plate, English Stilton. Its intensity and pungency – characteristic of all blue-veined cheese – not to mention its rich and buttery texture, makes Stilton the perfect match for sweet Port.  A Portuguese fortified red wine, Port is extremely sweet and very robust, which why its used as a dessert or after-dinner wine. The sweetness balances out the saltiness of the Stilton, and it’s robustness stands out to the richness of the cheese.

Classic pairing: Ruby Port.
You can also try: Sauternes, a classic sweet white wine from Bordeaux.

Try: Tuxford & Tubbet English Washed Rind Stilton >
Try: Gorgonzola Dolce >

4. Cheddar

This is a tricky pairing, as the flavor of cheddar changes with age. Most of the more widely palate-friendly cheddars are in the medium range, so let’s take those ones as our example. Cheddar’s most distinctive characteristic is its sharpness, which makes it hard to match with wine, and makes it more suited for a strong, yeasty Ale. Another great match? Apple! Most specifically, sweet and strong apple cider.

vintage cheddar

vintage cheddar

Classic pairing: Beer or Apple Cider.
But you can also try: Chardonnay – a light and fruity white wine.

Try: Fiscalini 18-Month Farmstead Cheddar >

5. Sheep Cheese

Ewe’s milk is tangy and nutty, and generally richer than cow’s milk. Sheep’s milk cheese can vary wildly in flavor and texture, as you can have for example a creamy and buttery Brebicet, a crumbly and dry Pecorino Romano, or a Spanish Manchego, firm and buttery cheese with herbaceous notes. They all pair well with different wines, so rather than give you one global wine pairing, we’ll give you three, suitable to each type of sheep’s milk cheese.

pecorino romano

pecorino romano

Creamy Sheep’s Milk Cheese Classic Pairing: Chenin Blanc.
Dry and Crumbly: Cabernet Sauvignon.
Buttery and Firm: dry Sherry.

Try: Brebicet Guilloteau>
Try: Sini Fulvi Pecorino Romano>
Try: Mini Manchego El Trigal >

If you want to experiment a little bit, try the old adage “if it grows together, it goes together”.  There’s a good chance a cheese from a particular geographic area, will go well with a wine from the same region.  For example: Crottin de Chavignol chevre from the Loire Valley pairs wonderfully with Vouvray, a delicious white wine from the same region of the Loire, made of the Chenin Blanc grape.
It’s always good to rely on the classics, and the cheese and wine pairings above you can always fall back upon!