Monday, 26 November 2012
Cheese... Lovely cheese. Been a while since I blogged about it.
For me a good cheeseboard is like a little piece of heaven, and every pub or restaurant has a slightly different version of it though making your own is more fun. The number of cheeses can vary greatly. Three is the minimal number but four to seven is more ideal. More than seven and it gets a bit too much. But it's not all about the cheese, some garnish with apple chunks, others prefer grapes. Biscuits or crackers are good but not essential and chutney is always a bonus. But any great cheese board is in essence like a great football team, the elements shine individually but together provide the experience.
The quality and variety of what's on the board is crucial. I stand by that five is the perfect number of cheeses. In order of preference here's how I would choose it:
1; the blue. (absolutely loads of great ones to choose from here but when in doubt you just can't go wrong with good old stilton)
2; the hard and nutty (Gruyere, one of my weaknesses)
3; the soft, ripe and creamy (Brie or Camenbert, still undecided on a favourite).
4; the cheddar (usually but not always, and not always a strong one)
5; the wildcard
My wildcard is normally something uber pungent like a munster but it can be goat's cheese or some odd ball French creation. Then again smoked cheeses are hard to turn down also, this is why two or three wildcards are usually better.
Obviously the cheeseboard has to be served with a beverage, which for me is normally a very cheese versatile beer. Barley wines, Big Belgian's, some IPA's, general strong ales or even premium bitters can do the job. Then there's the surprisingly under-rated option of Geuze. Wine or Port will also suffice.