My friend and local cheese expert, Diane from Mystery Cheese in Sydney has volunteered to write up a few tips and a bit of a run down on serving cheese when you have friends over. Mystery Cheese is a business that conducts cheese and wine Masterclasses. We have chosen a few lovely mostly Australian cheeses just to demonstrate the types of cheeses that work well together. Feel free to follow the guide and buy whatever looks best to you.
Celebrate with the perfect cheeseplate
The easiest way to put a big smile on the faces of your family & friends is to serve a beautiful cheese platter. I don’t know anyone (except for vegans) who don’t get excited by a cheese platter.
In order to please all tastes (and noses), here is a selection that is sure to delight everyone, young & less young….
Start with a Triple cream- the white rind is conducive to all kinds of decoration but most importantly, once you cut into the soft melting pate, you get that irresistible swooning moment. Buttery, sweetly lactic and texture of velvet on the tongue, a triple cream is the perfect match for some celebratory bubbles (sparkling, Prosecco, Champagne). The cheese pictured above and below are Brillat Savourin (French triple cream). It’s served with salted walnut praline . The triple cream on the platter above is a Trinity Cellars Triple Cream from South Australia.
With its pyramid shape, Yarra Valley ashed goat cheese is another winner. The balance of salt and citrusy flavours is about perfect. Close to the rind, the texture is silky while the centre remains slightly drier. Easier digested than cow milk, goat milk is nutritious and delicious. A cheese perfectly offset by the acidity of a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc.
Next a washed rind is always welcome; this contender comes in a wooden box and sparkles with its orange rind. While the smell can be strong (the washing of the rind in brine gives it its colour and smell), the taste of Jackson’s Track reminds us of mushrooms and yeast. As for the texture, it’s another melt in the mouth experience (you should be able to actually spoon it out of the box). Pair with beer or an aromatic white wine such as a Viogner, Pinot Gris or Soave
A wedge of nutty Comté, spicy crumbly Cheddar (Pyengana, Maffra, Ashgrove, or below Cabots cheddar from the US) or any hard cheese of your liking, is the perfect opportunity to savour the diversity of hard cheeses. Look for unpasteurised cheeses as they are aged (so no risk at all) and can present that length of taste on the palate that raw milk cheeses provide. Add fruit pastes & nuts for extra crunch and sweetness.
A smaller wedge of Blue vein cheese (here we have the multi-award winning Tarwin Blue). The pate is of deep yellow with blue, greenish lines, is made in the style of Gorgonzola. Salty, spicy and creamy at the same time.
This can also be a cheese that is perfect served with Port or a dessert wine.
A few tips for serving cheese:
- Make sure they are at room temperature before you serve them (take out of the fridge- 1 hour before. On a hot day, half an hour should be enough.
- 1 knife per cheese- don’t mix them up!
- Advise people to cut each cheese in order to have a bit of rind and some pate
- Serve cheese with quince or guava paste, praline, nuts, fresh fruits and crackers or bread
- Go as simply or as elaboratly as you like. but remember the cheese is the star.
- You can have a cheeseplate with just one cheese if thats what you like but a selection with all the different types id ideal. Remember to try and choose a cheese that is not industrial ( made in a big factory ). Try to find small producers, a cheese shop is the best place to do this.
To Store your cheese:
- Wrap white moulds & washed rinds (brie, soft goat cheeses, orange smelly cheeses…) in wax paper, hard cheeses in wax and/or glad wrap and blue veins in foil.
- Store them in the least cold part of your fridge. A good tip is to put the wrapped cheeses in a foam box as it keeps the cheese breathing and the fridge smell-free.
- If you have any left overs (that doesn’t happen in my house…) wrap again in fresh paper.
Think of cooking with cheese?
try some of these:
- Creamy Blue Cheese Tart with Quince and Walnuts
- Delice de Bourgogne Pannacotta with Figs and Pistachio Brittle
Have a great cheesy celebration and Bon Appetit!
This is a great dessert for blue cheese lovers, Fourme D’Ambert with date loaf walnuts and dates in citrus caramel syrup.
If you would like to contact Mystery Cheese, please email www.dianenaggar@gmail dot com