After the starter, the mains and the dessert- there's always room for cheese- so here are some top tips to make it the best it can possibly be for your guests!
Consider what you have planned for your main meal to determine the flavour profile of your cheeses. Lighter foods will want fresh, crumbly and nutty flavours, while seafood pairs perfectly with a little sweetness. Meat dishes are complimented by cheeses that are more robust with stronger flavours.
Too many cheeses on your cheeseboard can be daunting for guests! Five to seven cheeses work well for a classic cheeseboard.
The key is to think of the cheeseboard as a wheel of taste. Start with a soft and creamy cheese like Boursin®, followed by a mild crumbly one, a robust hard cheese, then a strong, aromatic one before ending with the most powerful flavour – blue!
Cheese naturally lends itself to a delicious dry red wine, however sauvignon white wines are always easy to enjoy with cheese, particularly goats which compliments the acidity. Port and stilton are made for each other, while whisky excels with hard, salty cheeses like cheddar or parmesan. Champagne is perfect to toast to with brie or comet.
When pairing with non-alcoholic drinks, avoid fizzy drinks as they won’t allow the cheese to digest. Instead try a dry apple, pear or grape juice. Feeling adventurous? Green tea is particularly tasty with some cheeses like Boursin® and goat.
When coming close to cheeseboard o’clock, prepare your cheeseboard by allowing the cheese some time outside of the fridge - 30 minutes is the recommended waiting time (we know, it’s hard!).
Often guests might need a little encouragement to dive into your cheeseboard so remember to cut a few pieces to help get the party started. Portions should be about match box size while round cheeses like camembert should be cut like a cake so that the last guest doesn’t just get rind.
Accompaniments add a little je-ne-sais-quoi to any cheeseboard and elevate the tasting experience. Raisins can be served with walnuts and almonds (pecan nuts and cashews have too much oil to pair with cheese). Jam’s smooth texture works perfectly with blue cheese but make sure it’s not too sweet to preserve the spicy notes in the blue. Baby cornichons can bring a lovely crunch to soft cheeses, while dates are a natural partner to cheese due to their pillowy sweetness.
For a quirky twist to your cheeseboard, add an aged balsamic as the sweet and sharp flavour will compliment most cheeses. Bitter dark chocolate will do wonders with fresh goats cheese while salted caramels add an amazing velvety sweetness to washed rind cheeses such as taleggio.
Serve your accompaniments on your cheese board to show guests the best pairings. And, of course, don’t forget to plan for enough biscuits, crackers and fresh bread to enjoy all the cheeses on.
Providing the ultimate French cheese indulgence, Boursin has launched their brand-new limited 3-Flavour Edition to help us get into the festive spirit. The irresistible 3-Flavour Edition includes mini pots of deliciously creamy, crumbly cheese selections in one convenient pack to delight all taste buds. The 3-Flavour Edition includes the classic Garlic & Herb, rich and fruity Fig & Nuts and tangy Shallot & Chives. The Boursin 3-Flavour Edition is available at Tesco and Waitrose, from mid-November to Christmas. RRP £3.00