Cheese Boarding 101

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)…

Cheeseboard

Cheeseboard

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.

Mix and match verities and textures to create an interesting and fun board

Mix and match verities and textures to create an interesting and fun board

This board is more antipasto orientated and features a burratta cheese with some vibrant tomatoes which we enjoyed as an afternoon snack...with many wines

This board is more antipasto orientated and features a burratta cheese with some vibrant tomatoes which we enjoyed as an afternoon snack…with many wines

Antipasto I served before a pizza night with friends, more focused on cured meats than cheese – but still delicious

A fresh selection of vegetables, fruits, cheese and olives for pre-drinks with friends

A fresh selection of vegetables, fruits, cheese and olives for pre-drinks with friends

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