Not all cheese boards are created equal. Award-winning cheesemaker, Wayne Austin, shares his tips for creating the cheese board of your dreams.
The first thing to do when creating a cheese board is to make sure you have a good balance of flavours and textures. Artisan cheesemaker, Wayne Austin from Cheese Please, recommends that 3-5 different cheeses should be included (no more) that represent a variety of milks and ages. A fun and failsafe way of remembering to keep things balanced is to think of the rhyme Something old, something new, something goat and something blue.
Allow 20-30 grams of each type of cheese per person, and make it easy for guests to serve themselves by pre-cutting wedges and slices of cheese before they go on the board. Its a good idea to dedicate one knife per cheese, and always unwrap and remove cheese from the fridge 30-60 minutes before serving, so the subtleties in flavour have time to develop.
Once you have chosen your cheese here are 2 simple tricks you can use to take your cheese board to the next level and wow your guests. It should be noted that cheese purists would see this as a cheese crime believing that cheese should be left completely unadulterated.
Grill Your Brie
Preheat a grill to high heat or preheat your oven to 200C. Place the brie under the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until slightly charred. Remove from the grill and serve warm.
Roll Fresh Cheeses in Herbs
Combine freshly chopped herbs of choice, like basil, parsley and thyme, then lay out on a chopping board. Carefully roll a log of goats cheese in the herbs then wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
Next create a feast for the eyes by using a number of enticing accoutrements on the board. Some indulgent options would be: fresh seasonal fruits, vine dried sultanas, dried apricots, dried figs, roasted almonds, pickled walnuts, fresh honeycomb and good quality charcuterie. The goal is to accentuate rather than overpower the cheese, so serve the accompaniments on the side rather than drizzling over the cheese itself.
Wayne suggests that when it comes to fruit and cheese pairings contrast is key: I pair soft cheese like havarti, camembert or brie with crisp, crunchy apples or pears. The stronger varieties like Bevelder or blue vein go well with the sweetness of raw honeycomb and quince paste, and cheddar is excellent with dried fruit.
Gourmet Cheese Board
Not sure where to start This selection of cheeses and accoutrements will make a decadent cheese board thats perfect for a dinner party.