While most of our cheese make excellent cooking ingredients, one of the best ways to feature a cheese unique flavour is with the classic cheese board.
The classic way to serve cheese is with fruit, and/or beverages such as beer, wine, ale, cider, or even milk. The milder the cheese the milder the beverage should be, and viceversa. Break out your best serving platter and then select two to five cheese varieties. Cut the pieces in varying sizes depending on the number of people you’ll be serving. To keep things interesting for your guests, choose cheese made in different styles and with different milks. Also, use several kinds of breads – French, rye pumpernickel, black bread, etc. Seasoned or salty crackers are not good choices; cheese should never be inferior to other flavours.
Cheese is very versatile and goes well with many kinds and combinations of foods. As a last course, it enhances most dinners or luncheons. When serving cheese for dessert, provide each person with a small plate and knife. Cheese may be eaten with the fingers, but on formal occasions, it is eaten with a fork. It should not be used with dishes from those countries where little cheese is eaten. Cheese is inappropriate following a Chinese or Japanese dinner, or a hot Indian curry.
As with the cheese, select accompaniments that have varied flavours and textures. For example: nuts, dried fruit, and a savoury compote or confit. Serve them on the same platter as the cheese, so your guests know they are meant to be consumed together. You may want to use small ramekins to keep them separate.
To complete the experience, choose the best time to serve the cheese course. While it can be served as hors d’oeuvres, we recommend including it in the meal as the final course so your guests can truly appreciate each cheese and its accompaniments. It’s a wonderful finish to any meal.
Cheese makes a superb addition to any meal on its own or as part of a dish. With so many varieties to choose from there is something to suit every palate. However, contrary to popular belief, often the tricky part of serving cheese is matching it with wine.
Acid likes acidity and sweet fruitiness likes matching sweetness. Think about the acidity or sweetness in both the wine and cheese. Acidity in food will lessen the acidic characteristics of a wine; for example, goat’s cheese will match well with a dry Sauvignon Blanc, mellowing its high acidity. Sweetness in food tends to cancel out sweetness in wine, making the wine taste drier. This is why a rich blue cheese is best served with a sweet wine, as a dry or medium- dry wine will seem even drier, creating an unpleasant contrast. Pinot Noir is very cheese-friendly and generally great with most cheeses but it is not always the best match. Combining cheese and wine is about texture as well as taste. Big bold red wines will pair with complex strong cheese. Fresh white cheese will match lighter crisp white wines.