Guide to Cheese
To get the best out of your cheese there are three things to consider: selection, storage and serving. Get these down pat and you will maximise the flavour & shelf life of your cheese.
As a guide, we recommend 50-100g of cheese per person. When creating a cheeseboard or platter, odd numbers look better. 3 or 5 cheeses is great, though sometimes 1 larger piece can look better (and more generous) than 5 small pieces. For a guide to cheese sizes, click here.
The classic combination of soft, blue and hard cheeses is a safe approach. An alternative option is a trio of the same style.
Try serving 3 soft cheeses - a triple crème, a camembert & a washed rind.
Or 3 goats cheeses - one each of soft, blue & hard style.
Compose your cheeseboard with a balance of textures as well as flavours in mind. A soft creamy white mould contrasts well with a firm blue cheese and a crumbly Cheddar to balance texture and mouthfeel.
Do not wrap your cheese in plastic
At Harper & Blohm, we wrap all of our cheese in specialised cheese paper so please keep the cheese wrapped in this in your fridge. We also sell Formaticum cheese paper which is specifically designed for extending the life of cut cheese. 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 you are after a container with 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 easily dry out if it is kept too cold. The vegetable drawer at the bottom of the fridge is usually best.
Don't freeze cheese
Artisan cheese is a thing of beauty, let alone delicious and won't recover from being frozen. The only exception is Parmigiano Reggiano rinds which can be kept in your freezer to use in stocks and the odd end of cheese to grate into sauces.
Serve cheese at room temperature
Taking the cheese out of the fridge (leaving it fully wrapped) about 30 mins to 1 hour before serving allows the flavours and texture to develop their full potential.
We stock only the best biscuits specifically made for cheese. Selecting the correct one will enhance the cheese, not distract from it eg.Cashel Blue with Sheridans Brown Bread Crackers. Fruit toast is excellent with triple crèmes. Feel free to ask for suggestions.
Fruit pastes & sweet things are a classic match to balance the saltiness of certain cheeses. Savoury relishes/chutneys pair well with hard cheeses especially Cheddar. Our quality range of accompaniments has been selected to match our cheeses and we're more than happy to help you choose.
When matching drinks with cheese, the key is balance. Generally speaking, the strength of the cheese and its richness should be balanced by the accompanying drink, not overwhelmed by it. Wine, beer, cider & spirits can all work well with different cheeses.
Some classic cheese & drinks pairings are:
- Champagne & triple crèmes
- Sauvignon Blanc & goats cheese
- Pinot Noir & washed rinds
- Farmhouse Cider & Normandy Camembert
- Fortified wines & blue cheese
Non-alcoholic cheese & drink pairings read here
Ultimate Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide with Dan Murphys read here
Red wine matches for cheese read here