For my own constructed cheese-board I went ahead and followed my own set of rules listed on the previous page and went out to purchase a wide array of cheeses thatt would impress me and my guests. A cheese-board usually means you’re substituting one meal, meaning you don’t have to cook as much so they’re always helful in that respect. Therefore, it’s always expected of you to put a bit of attention into the whole presentation and selection of cheeses. If you pull this off well, it will earn you tons of brownie points with your guests and will leave you feeling like a brilliant host. Most of my cheeses were selected at the deli counter of a local supermarket. This is because they always have such a great selection of cheeses and relishes and also because they’re a lot cheaper than your standard local cheese shop. That being said, visiting a cheese shop for a tasting session can be a great afternoon out with friends or your partner, but it all depends on how much time you have to spare!
I decided to allocate one of my cheeses to something I have never tried before and neither had the majority of my dinner guests – Goat’s cheese. I thought this would be a good choice because of course it’s different, its circular shape looks good on the board and it’s also nice to have for lactose intolerant people. Unfotunately, I wasn’t a huge fan and I just couldn’t eat much of it. Perhaps I’m just too set in my ways and too used to my cow’s milk cheeses because this just seemed far too strange for me to enjoy. It was tangy, and also tasted slightly off but I guess there’s always the chance I just got a bad batch… right?
Again with my crumbly cheese I chose something I’ve never had before and surprisingly enough that’s the ever-common White Stilton. I decided to get a large chunk of the Stilton that didn’t contain any dried fruit because I like adding crumbly cheese to my homemade burgers or meatballs which gives them a mild, cheesy and salty flavour. This cheese was incredibly mild, maybe even too much for me but my guests seem to really enjoy it. It was very crumbly yet didn’t seem to have to lovely creaminess I’ve found in a good wedge of Wensleydale or Lancashire.
I love any kinds of Blue Cheese so there’s not many variants I haven’t tasted yet. Therefore I decided to opt for the creamier Yorkshire Blue because I love it. It doesn’t put off people who despise the harshness of blue cheeses such as stronger stilton’s, and because it’s always lovely to have a local cheese on your board. What can I say, I adore this cheese. It’s got a lovely, smooth texture that spreads easily onto your biscuit and it’s got a great, blue tanginess without being too overpowering. I also loved the fact it went so well with my chutney; it was a pairing that you wouldn’t expect to work, but it really does.
A chutney or pickle is an absolute must have on your cheeseboard, as is fruit. The whole creaminess of the cheese is very overpowering, even the mildest of cheeses will leave a funny taste in your mouth. This is why I used grapes and apple which not only compliment the cheeses well but also cleanse the palate afterwards. Chutney and cheese are best mates so it’s a top idea to pair them up. The chutney I used was Morrison’s Finest Red Onion Chutney at £1.69. It was great value for money and it tasted delicious.
The soft cheese I decided to buy was a Cornish Brie. I’ve always been a huge fan of Brie, whether it’s in front of me on a cheeseboard or sliced up on a rich Bacon and Brie Panini. I mainly choose Camembert purely because I’ve always adored its creamy flavour. I’ve never eaten Cornish Brie and I chose it because it was English and I’ve only ever eaten French Brie before. I wasn’t wholly impressed with this cheese. When I opt for Camembert or Brie I opt for it not only because it’s great in cooking or soft but because of its unique, creamy and wholesome flavour that just wasn’t evident in my Cornish Brie.
I decided to go for two hard cheeses because I adore choice and I knew my guests would adore it too. Old fashioned cheddar always seems like a standard back-up because you’ll always have a chunk in your fridge, but I turned to his vibrant, milder cousin, Red Leicester and I also decided to try out a Gouda named ‘Old Amsterdam’. The Leicester had a great flavour to it, it was mature and tangy like cheddar but not as predictable. As for the Gouda, I was very impressed as it wasn’t lacking on the flavour and anything but mild. I’m a huge fan of strong, tangy cheeses and this really fit the bill and had lovely undertones of caramel.
It’s a good idea to use more than one biscuit as accompaniments for your cheese because, naturally, different cheeses need different crackers. For example, Blue cheeses suit sweet biscuits and soft cheeses go well with herby crackers but it’s best to stick with a plain cracker that will suit all of them. I opted for two crackers – poppy and sesame seed thins and Rye crackers. The Rye crackers were very plain but very crunchy and were tasty with my mature and hard cheeses and also low in fat, which is always a plus. The poppy and sesame seed thins are delicious enough to eat on their own and I found went very well with my Brie and Goat’s cheese.