As Christmas approaches we have lots of customers coming in and asking for help with cheeseboards. The first thing we ask is what is the occasion, for example, family celebration, dinner party, drinks and nibbles? Once we have in mind the type of event we can then think about recommending cheese, so it might be a “local cheese” board, or if someone hails from a certain area we can try to find cheeses from that area. Alternatively we might go with a Mediterranean theme, or an explorers board with more unusual cheeses.
We try to suggest a variety of cheese that covers the various categories of cheese from fresh cheese like Vulscombe Goat, mould ripened such as Ragstone or Dorstone, rind washed such as Rollright or Stinking Bishop through to hard (gouda, alpine, territorial) and blue cheese – think Stilton, Blue Cropwell or Roquefort. In addition I would try to incorporate cheese made from different types of milk (cow, goat, ewe) or even a blend of milk.
In terms of presentation there are many ways to serve cheese. You could use a wooden cheeseboard giving a rustic appearance and feel to the selection, or slate is also popular as it gives a pleasant contrast to the light and creamy colours of the cheese. Cheese domes on paddles or boards neatly separate cheese and accompaniments and look beautiful and sophisticated. Alternatively individual platters could be served, or mini domes used.
To accompany the cheese I would again consider the occasion. If the cheeseboard was the main meal or a buffet accompaniments such as artisan breads with fruit and nuts, tangy pickles and fresh fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, celery and cherry tomatoes compliment the cheeses and make a tasty addition.
If the cheeseboard was an after dinner course we suggest crackers and fruit toast as they are lighter and less filling. We also recommend a variety of crackers to compliment the different cheese, for example celery crackers for the blue cheese, charcoal crackers with brie, chilli crackers with cheddar and sourdough or water crackers as a plain option. We would also suggest pickled fruits such as pickled pears, figs and walnuts, as these are sweeter and would go well with an after dinner drink such as port or dessert wine. In addition a dried fruit and nut cake such as fig and almond or date and walnut would provide a similar result.
We are happy to provide individual advice and samples for customers so why not come in and see our range and try something new?!