I adore cheese. All types. I don’t have a hint of cheese snobbery. I’m just as happy to eat mass produced tasty cheese that my kids favour for their sandwiches as I am to eat a specialist gooey cheese flown in from France. With the exception of cheese that isn’t really cheese I will eat it all. I have gone through some quite significant one-cheese phases in my life. There was a time when I ate feta every day without exception. Sometimes twice a day. And then there was my haloumi stage. Fried with couscous, fried with salad…roasted with vegetables, I couldn’t get enough of it’s squeaky salty loveliness. In recent times it has been marinated goats cheese.
But the best kind of cheese is that which is enjoyed with others, preferably paired with a glass of wine, with a variety of crackers, breads and nibbles to accompany and enhance it’s deliciousness. Even though I will sometimes prepare myself a Friday night mini-cheese board and glass of wine to enjoy solo before going out, I do like a cheese board designed for sharing.
There are some general rules of thumb when creating a cheese board. Convention dictates that there should ideally be at least one soft cheese, a bloomy rind cheese, a hard cheese and a blue. That’s all very good and well, but if you really can’t bear blue cheese (which lots of people can’t) then don’t buy it. Serve what you love whilst also being mindful of creating a board that has a variety of tastes and textures. There is no need to have a huge array of cheeses – depending on numbers 3 to 5 is probably fine as too many varieties can get very messy and confusing – both for the platter and your palate! If you choose a particularly runny cheese then consider separating it on to it’s own plate so that it doesn’t ooze all over everything.
For this cheeseboard I chose a Brillat Savarin for the gooey bloomy rind cheese, a sharp piquant Pecorino from Italy, one of my favourites – Manchego from Spain, a soft natural goats cheese, a St Agur blue which is soft and unctuous and has just the right amount of metallic mould taste for me and finally a super soft creamy Burrata.
To accompany the cheeses I chose a traditional baguette and a variety of crackers including oat, wheat and Italian croccantini with rosemary. And of course a cheese platter wouldn’t be complete without a few little extras like figs in syrup, fresh seedless grapes and some marinated olives and nuts. Perfect.
Enjoy your weekend.