Welcome to this special installment of beer and cheese pairings. This week, I’m sharing my tips for building two tasty cheese boards–one sweet and one savory. Let’s get started!
Flavor is obviously King when building a cheese board, but a main component that is often overlooked is texture, which can lead to an unpleasant eating experience. With that in mind, for both of these boards I’ve picked different varieties of cheeses with differing textures and accompanied them with crackers, fruits, olives and nuts.
Let’s jump right into the savory board.
Tip: When it comes to the cheeses, I recommend choosing 2 that you enjoy and are familiar with and another 1 to 2 cheeses that push a little out side of your comfort zone.
For the familiar cheeses, I chose Vat 17, a naturally aged extra sharp world cheddar from Deer Creek, and Mimolette, a sharp and tangy pasteurized cows milk cheese that is produced in the Nord Pas-de-Calais region in northern France. As for those boundary pushers, I chose Somerdale’s Tintern and Red Dragon. Both softer English cheddars, Tintern is made with chives and shallots and Red Dragon with light brown ale and whole mustard seed.
All 4 of these cheeses range in texture and flavor and should stand up to some pretty hearty accompaniments. For this board, I added a bowl of roasted peanuts for some added texture and crunch and paired the cheeses with a selection of delicious Divina® olives from FoodMatch and a sturdy multigrain cracker.
For plating, I put the cheeses on their own board and used a 3-sectioned dish to separate the garlic stuffed olives, sweet pepper stuffed olives, and a medley I made using Green, Kalamata, and Castelvetrano olives–all from Divina®.
Tip: Unless it is a soft cheese, you should cut it into slices before serving. This really is a big part of the overall experience. I know it’s hard, but you have to resist the urge to leave a knife on the plate and call it done.
Once you’ve got it plated, it is ready to go!
Now for the sweet board! Flavor contrast and texture are key for this one. For the cheeses I chose Bay Blue, a rustic-style blue cheese from Point Reyes, and Double Crème from Fromager d’Affinois. These cheeses are both delicious and pungent, so we are going to rely on our accompaniments to bring in the sweetness. With that in mind I chose a sweet apple, dried cherries, pure honey, and Dalmatia® Orange Fig Spread from FoodMatch. Keeping true to my advice, I also brought in unsalted almonds and crackers for both texture and crunch.
In terms of presentation, I like to make large crumbles when presenting a rustic blue cheese. For the soft Brie, I served it with a simple cheese knife. Knowing that these cheeses would run, I only put the apple slices and crackers on the board with them. I left the honey and fig spread aside with serving spoons and put the almonds and cherries in a separated serving dish.
All you have to do now is just add your favorite beer or wine, and you are ready to start the party!
I hope you have as much fun making your cheese boards as I had making these. Be sure to tune in next week for our regular installment of beer and cheese pairings.