When it comes to perfect appetizers, the humble cheeseboard is king. Assembling one of these quick and easy guest-pleasers is a surprisingly fuss-free affair, and will keep the table entertained while you’re in the kitchen finishing up the rest of the meal. All it takes is a bit of strategic planning and a visit to Taigan’s cheese section. Heed these five tips and you can’t go wrong…
- Aim to serve up four or five different varieties: a creamy goat cheese, a firm nutty-flavoured cheese, a buttery crowd-pleaser like cheddar, a cheese with a washed rind (one washed with brandy is ideal) and a potent blue cheese. This is also the order they should be eaten in according to palate perfectionists, so you might want to make that clear in your presentation. Use a longer platter, line up the cheeses in order and tell guests which end to start at.
- Try to buy roughly 1.5oz of each variety per person, but if your friends are serious cheese fiends, a little more is always advisable. Remember that it’s possible to freeze cheese as well, so leftovers won’t go to waste.
- Make sure your cheeses are ripe enough (no rubbery brie please) and bring them all to room temperature before serving to make sure the flavours emerge fully.
- Fill out your platter with complementing accompaniments. The key is to introduce as many different flavours and textures as possible, so try sweet green grapes, tangy chutney, spicy nuts, crisp crackers and soft, warm baguette. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous then dried strawberries and runny honey team really well with cheeses on the creamy end of the spectrum.
- Don’t forget the wine! Strong blues work perfectly with Port and Muscat, while milder cheeses require a fresher tipple, like a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
1. Southern Belle Goat Cheese, $7.50
2. Brebis Cheese, $20.00
3. Comte Fort St. Antoine, $19.00
4. Thomasville Tomme Cheese, $12.99
5. Pleasant Ridge Reserve, $13.50
6. Blackberry Blue Cheese, $28.00
7. Asher Blue Cheese, $16.99
1. Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board, $24.00
2. Virginia Chutney Co. Fruit Chutneys, $8.75
3. Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Napa Valley, Inquire to Order
4. BERTI Set of 3 cheese knives with fabric roll up, $248.00