Whether you’re planning an informal get-together with old friends, an out-of-hours work function or the preamble to the wedding feast to end all wedding feasts, it’d be a crime to leave cheese off your appetizer menu. But which ones to pick?
With so many cheeses out there to choose from, it’s difficult enough to know which one to pair with what and how to tell your camemberts from your cambozolas. Not to worry! This handy guide will give those keen but confused cheese lovers some real food for thought in the run-up to your event.
- Keep things simple. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests with too much choice! Between three and five varieties of cheese is the optimum number to intrigue without intimidating.
- Please that crowd. Try and satisfy them all by offering a selection of different varieties, such as some mild options, some soft ones and some sharp ones.
- Go organic. The popularity of all things organic is growing day-by-day and shouldn’t be underestimated. To keep those who prefer an organic option happy, try to include at least one or two varieties within your selection.
- Pair up accordingly. Have a good selection of other nibbles to pair with each cheese, including cured meats (both flavoursome and mild varieties), apples, pears, grapes, carrots, celery and olives, as well as plenty of breads and crackers to balance things out and chutneys to spread on top.
- Don’t mix up the different flavours on offer. Make sure there is a separate knife for each kind of cheese to avoid mixing tastes between varieties.
- Unwrap but don’t unrind. Leave the rind on when displaying cheese but do remove the wrap, as it can look unsightly and become fiddly for guests desperate to get at that dairy delight. You can label the cheeses using tiny flags or place cards if you like.
- The blue. We believe the perfect cheeseboard has to include a blue cheese, even though it is the most controversial kind! Stilton, gorgonzola or Roquefort are all favourites.
- The soft. Plenty of people have a hankering for soft cheese they can boss around – brie is a great choice for this, it’s soft and mild and can provide a special treat if baked with other flavours (such as cranberry, walnuts, honey or garlic). Camembert is another one which lends itself well to baking. Cambozola is a delicious compromise between this category and the next.
- The sharp. There are those among us who like nothing more from their cheese than a bit of backbone, which often comes in the form of an additive cheese. You could go the smoked route, choosing a smoked cheddar to add an extra zing to an old classic, which goes particularly well with fruit or chutney.
Whatever the occasion this summer, host your party the right way with the right cheesy appetizers. Take a look at our cheddar combo to start you off in the right direction.