Guide to Cheese – choosing, caring & serving
Selecting the right cheeses, looking after them and serving them at their best will ensure you get the maximum flavour, shelf life and enjoyment from your purchase.
• Quantity – as a guide we recommend 50 – 100g of cheese per person. When creating a cheeseboard or platter, odd numbers look better – say 3 0r 5 cheeses, and sometimes 1 large piece can look better than 5 small pieces.
• Variety – the classic model of a combination of soft, blue and hard cheeses is a safe approach. An alternative option is a trio of the same style such as 3 soft cheeses – a triple crème, a camembert & a washed rind, or 3 goats cheeses – one in each of the classic styles of soft, blue & hard.
• Balance – think of textures and flavours when choosing a cheeseboard to avoid having cheeses that are too similar. eg. a soft creamy white mould with a firm blue cheese and a crumbly cheddar gives a balance of texture and mouthfeel.
• Do not wrap your cheese in plastic – we wrap all of our cheese in cheese paper in the shop, so if you can, simply keep the cheese wrapped up in this in your fridge. Alternatively, you can wrap your cheese in waxed paper and then place it in a loose fitting food bag.
• Designate a large plastic container for your cheese – ideally one which has an airflow button on top and a plastic grate on the bottom to allow air to circulate around the cheese. Keep a damp, clean dish cloth at the bottom of the box to prevent the cheese from drying out.
• Find the warmest place in your fridge – cheese can dry out if it is too cold. The vegetable drawer at the bottom of the fridge is usually best.
• Don’t freeze cheese – artisan cheese won’t recover from being frozen. The only exception is Parmigiano Reggiano rinds to use in stocks or the odd end of cheese to grate into sauces.
• Serve cheese at room temperature – taking the cheese out of the fridge about 30 mins to 1 hour before serving allows the flavours and texture to develop their full potential. Leave it wrapped at this stage to prevent drying out.
• Biscuits – our range of biscuits are all specifically made for cheese. Selecting the right one should enhance the cheese, not distract from it. eg. Cashel Blue with Sheridans Brown Bread Crackers.
• Accompaniments – fruit pastes & sweet things are the classic match to balance the saltiness of cheese – think Sauternes & Roquefort, Port & Stilton. Our range of accompaniments has been selected on its quality and provenance to match our cheeses. eg. Ossau Iraty with Spiced Pickled Cherries.
• Drink Matches – balance is the key here in order to let the cheese shine. Generally speaking, the strength of the cheese and its richness should be balanced by the accompanying drink, not overwhelmed by it, whether that be wine, beer, cider or spirits. Classic matches are –
- Champagne & Triple Crèmes.
- Sauvignon Blanc & Goats Cheese.
- Farmhouse Cider & Normandy Camembert.