Cheese boards are much-loved, whether they are assorted cheeses and nuts spread out on a board or the delicacy of Gruyere combined with pecans and mustard. With Christmas approaching and the Omicron virus looming, it’s time to stay indoors and spruce up our home gatherings with an aesthetically pleasing cheese board. We know it can be overwhelming to think about what goes on a cheese board, so we have had experts put together a simple guide. Make your own cheese board this winter, after all who doesn’t like all things cheese!
“We all love cheese but the thought of arranging a cheese platter on your own can appear to be a daunting task. However, one should not worry as there are a few tips one can learn to compose a well-balanced one. Firstly, the surface on which we serve the cheese is very important. Make sure it is cold like marble or slate as this helps to ensure the cheese doesn’t get mopey and droopy. A wooden tray whether rectangular, or square is also a great option,” says Sheeba Dhawan, Cheese expert, Crave To Plate.
It’s essential to have a flat space to work with where you can make the grazing platter not only taste brilliant with all the cheeses and pairings on the board but a visual treat as well.
When arranging the cheese, it is important to have a variety of textures and flavours as eating is a sensory experience. At least one soft cheese (like Brie), one hard cheese (like Parmesan), and one crumbly cheese (like bleu cheese), Also, include a variety of colours and shapes to make the board look more visually interesting and pretty.
Pairings are important and integral
A cheese that pairs well with a specific type of wine can add another layer of fun to a luncheon or a dinner gala. Complementing flavours must always be paired together. The bitterness of dark chocolate pairs well with citrus flavours like orange and yuzu. It also goes well with fruits like berries, bananas, and passion fruit. “Dark chocolate and orange make a great pairing, especially in the winters,” says Radhika Gupta, cheesemonger, Ambrosia. “Whiskey and scotch go well with hard aged cheese and Prosecco is great to pair with flavoured gourmet cheese,” opines Sanjyot Kaur Anand, cheesemonger, Amber & Cocoa.
Roquefort and Gorgonzola, kinds of blue cheese, are paired best with a baguette slice and some honey or maple syrup and some walnuts. “Another divine pairing is pears and blue cheese, do try figs and pineapple with this cheese. It’s unbelievable,” says Himani Kapila Chawla, cheesemonger, Cheesesareus. A matured Gouda tastes brilliant on its own however grapes , crackers, a nice bread with some Dijon mustard pair really well , these work very well for cheddar cheese as well. “Brie is so versatile, bake it , eat it as is, pair it on a Melba toast with some cranberry jam or some candied walnuts,” says Chawla.
Feta traditionally made in Greece and is often found paired with spinach, olives, tomatoes, or cucumbers, these go brilliantly over some scrambled eggs, some tacos, the sharp hit of the salt and crumbly texture is great on a cracker with an olive in some rocket leaves. For chef Vidushi Sharma pecorino Romano drizzled with balsamic vinegar makes for a sharp twist, “Make sure not to keep too many flavoured crackers as they interfere with the notes of this cheese,” she says.
Perfect for a ladies night or a cozy dinner, cheese boards are a fun, versatile and a delicious addition to any gathering. “This party season, flavoured cheeses like a Cumin Gouda, Camembert rolled in scallions, Spiced cheese with paprika and Pepper Jack Cheese are a rage in today’s modern day cheese grazing platters,” adds chef Ritesh Tulsian.