Who doesn’t love a good cheeseboard for holidays? Although having a selection of cheese before or after a meal may seem like something just for special occasions, it really is something that can be done a lot more regularly.
Most people are simply overwhelmed by the variety and styles of cheeses, and tend to stick with the familiar in order to please everyone. Are you looking to jazz up your festive feast with a mouth-watering cheese board? Don’t worry, we’ve put together 4 simple rules to follow to create an impressive, fuss-free cheese board in no time!
Fine cheese selection for whisky
Mix It Up
If you’re from the UK, you’ve probably grown up on cheddar. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but when you’re putting together a cheese board you want to show off the many flavours and textures of cheese. “Something old, something new, something goat and something blue.” You don’t have to follow that rhyme exactly, but make sure you have something like… a soft , 2 semi-firms, and a firm or hard cheese. Or a gooey cheese, a semi-firm and two crunchy cheeses. Ask your local cheesemonger for their guidance if you’re struggling to think outside the cheddar box!
So you’ve selected the perfect cheeses, but how much do you buy so everyone is satisfied? The weight will vary depending on when you’re serving the cheese (before or after a meal) and how many types of cheese you are presenting. Generally-speaking though, you want to go with roughly 30-40 grams (or 1.1 -1.5 oz) of each cheese per person. We also recommend taking your cheese out of the fridge an hour before serving and let it come naturally to room temperature before serving in order to fully experience all the unique flavour complexity each cheese offers.
Traditional accompaniments can help cleanse your guests’ palates between cheeses, and can also enhance the flavours of some cheeses. Variety is again your friend here. Apples, grapes, honey or membrillo taste superb with multiple kinds of cheese. It’s always nice to have some fresh crusty bread or neutral/mild-flavoured crackers as well to help your guests reset their taste buds as the move to a different cheese.
What Are Your Drinking?
Wine is the traditional beverage of choice when pairing with cheese, but don’t be afraid to branch out. Champagne, cava or prosecco, sherry, madeira, beer and even whisky can come together with cheese for some truly spectacular flavour combinations. For wine, the general rule is the more intense and firmer the cheese, the richer the style of wine should be.
The fresh acidity and sharp flavours of white wines suit young, generally soft cheeses and semi-firm cheeses which would probably be overpowered by reds. Medium and full-bodied white wines work best with stinky and firm cheeses. Port is also a classic accompaniment to cheese, but tends to suit really full-on cheeses better — notably mature traditional cheddars and Stilton.
We hope we’ve de-mystified the cheese board for you and given you the confidence and knowledge to put together an impressive plate of your own. However, if you want an expert’s opinion, don’t be afraid to visit The Cheese Lady either online or in person at the shop in Haddington for all your “cheesy” questions and tailored recommendations.