Lordy, I have been way too blog quiet lately. Please accept my humble apology. Moving to a new city in a new state has been a life changing experience – for anyone else who has done this, I commend you. I now understand all too well the pains of life admin….
So what has moving to a new city done for me? Well, for one thing, it’s completely invigorated my perspective on life, forced me to make new friends because I had to leave my nearest and dearest at home to have fun without me, learning how to get around in a new town (and a much bigger one at that), trying to understand how to fit my stuff in a one bedroom apartment with a tiny kitchen when I was used to a three bedroom house with backyard and barbecue pit…yes the struggle is real. But two and a half months in and I think I am finally on track to being a Sydney resident – and I couldn’t be happier.
For our first few weekends in Sydney I made cheeseboards and antipasto platters, I justified it saying that every weekend should be celebrated. We moved, we made it, we had zero arguments about moving. That’s a win in my book and worthy of raising a glass (or two) to.
Every time I throw together a cheeseboard or antipasto platter my friends will message me asking to make one for them – but rather than make you one, I want to equip you with the knowledge to do it yourself. Let’s cut out the middleman. However, if you’re in Sydney and want me to organise and style a fantastic small or table length spread for you – get in touch, I would love to work with you….and totally encourage you getting in touch with the middleman (or woman in this case)…
Let’s start with some basics.
- How many people are you catering for? Cheese (especially when accompanied by sides) goes a long way, so don’t buy too much. Cheese is the main attraction, but the treats and sides is what makes it a memorable board.
- The Cheese. I usually buy 3-4 different types for a larger board (one soft, one hard and something else that catches my eye) – for example: Blue, truffled brie, smoked cheddar and a chèvre
- You may also like to selecting cheeses by the type of milk used (cow, goat, sheep) – different milks dramatically alter the flavour of the cheese
- If we think of cheese as the main attraction, then buy good cheese – good cheese is expensive but it’s worth it
- Let it sit. Hard Brie or Camembert is not a thing, let those soft cheeses warm-up, they should ooze a little when your knife dives in
- One knife per cheese
- Accompaniments. This is the fun bit.
- Stay seasonal for fresh accompaniments: think figs, pears, apple, berries and grapes
- Dried fruits: apricots, muscatels, sultanas, cranberries and dates
- Nuts: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (toast your nuts to add an extra depth of flavour)
- Honey: a drizzle of good quality honey over a Camembert or Brie is really special (but test it out of a small slice for yourself before drizzling over the whole wheel of cheese just in case its not for you)
- You may also like to add some chutney or some quince or spiced pear paste
- Crackers: I like to provide a mix of different types. Fresh baguette, bread sticks, crackers in all different shapes and sizes and dried lavosh. A variety of taste and texture only adds to the board overall
- Cured meats: this is optional, and not to be added if your cheeseboard is a post-meal in place of dessert offering. But you may wish to add some salami, mortadella, prosciutto, ham, pâté, terrine etc.
- Pickled and fresh vegetables, olives and herbs
Cheeseboards can be served as a stand-alone nibble when you’re having a drink with friends, after a meal in place of dessert or for a mid-week meal when you’re feeling a bit glam (I highly recommend this every once in a while).
If you’re serving before a meal then add more cured meats, pickled and fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts. Use it as more of an antipasto platter.
If after a meal, focus more on fresh and dried fruits and even add some nougat.