Words by Chloe Camilleri
During these times of self-isolation, we all need a little something to help us feel a little less blue.
So, for all you self-confessed curd nerds, here are the cheesiest tips and tricks for putting together a DIY cheese board at home that are too gouda not to share.
1. Barossa Valley Cheese Company
Emily Kroschel, Cheese Experience Architect from the Barossa Valley Cheese Company says to build the ultimate Barossa cheese platter, you must start with your cheese selection.
She recommends at least one soft, one hard and one blue cheese to create good complementing flavours on your board.
“Our favourites at the moment are Barossa Triple Cream, our La Dame (aged goat’s cheese) and because we don’t make a blue cheese, we always make sure we have La Vera Cheese Company Adelaide Blue on hand,” says Emily.
The next step?
Select a pairing condiment for each cheese.
Think fruit pastes to pair with soft creamy cheese.
Emily suggests either Maggie Beer Quince Paste or Relish the Barossa Pear & Tonic Paste or for a blue cheese, honey or fresh pear.
If you have a harder cheese like semi-matured cheese or cheddar, Emily suggests a cured meat, saying, “here in the Barossa we like Mount Pleasant Butchers Mettwurst and Zimmy’s Dilled Cucumbers”.
When making your cracker selection, Emily suggests adding a few different types, perhaps wafer, seed and a lavosh to your board.
Keep in mind, the milder the flavour of the cracker, the more the cheese can shine.
To round out a good cheese board, Emily recommends using nuts, dried fruit and any fresh fruit you have on hand to fill the board with texture, crunch and colour (fresh bread is also allowed).
Final tips are to make sure you have a knife for each cheese to prevent cross contaminating flavours, and most importantly, pair your cheese board with a Barossa wine such as Kellemeister’s Funk Wagon GSM.
You can find Barossa Valley Cheese Company at 67B Murray Street, Angaston.
2. Alexandrina Cheese
Rebekah McCaul, Marketing Manager from Alexandrina Cheese, says there are just five steps you need to create the perfect cheese board:
- The Cheese – Rebekah suggests the Mt Magnificent Gouda and Alexandrina Vintage Cheddar.
- The Vehicle – onion crackers from Matchett Productions as well as bread, toasts and grissini.
- The Crunch – SA nuts from Pt Willunga Fine Foods or celery and cucumbers also work well.
- The Sweetness – assorted pears from Pethick’s Orchards, toffee apple slices or feijoa paste from Pt Willunga Fine Foods or quince paste from Matchett Productions.
- The Knives – this is Rebekah’s most important suggestion, one knife per cheese please.
To add another layer of flavour, Rebekah also suggests adding Moroccan Jam from Spice Girlz for a tantalising mix of spice and chilli and olives from Arkwright Estate.
As for the beverage, Rebekah recommends pairing any of the following to complete your cheesy puzzle: the 2018 Bark Hut Road (signature Shiraz Cabernet Franc) from The Islander Estate, a Kolsch or Hop Bandit New England IPA from Smiling Samoyed Brewery, Moon River Single Malt Whiskey from Fleurieu Distillery, or Willson Small Batch Gin from Bremerton Wines.
Visit Alexandrina Cheese at the Adelaide Farmers Market every week.
3. Woodside Cheese Wrights
Kris Lloyd, aka the local Queen of Cheese, knows how to bring a bit a colour to a cheese board.
To build the perfect Adelaide Hills cheese board, Kris suggests starting with the pretty as a picture Woodside Monet.
In keeping with this colour theme, add some crunchy Adelaide Hills red apples from LOBO and strawberries from Adelaide Hills icon, Beerenberg.
Next on the board is the Charleston Jersey Brie topped with a golden and glistening Buzz Honey honeycomb chunk.
To carry the cheese, Kris suggests crackers from Baylies Epicurean Delights, as well as some charcuterie from Skara Fine Smallgoods.
Regarding the accompanying beverage, Kris can’t go past a glass of Deviation Road Bubbles.
Find Woodside Cheese at 22 Henry Street, Woodside.
4. Udder Delights
When it comes to curating a cheese board, there are perhaps none more qualified than Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Udder Delights, Sheree Sullivan.
Sheree can build a board around a single cheese but why serve one kind of cheese when you can be bold and and serve them all (with her help of course).
Udder Delights has four amazing Brie cheeses to choose from for your cheese board – Adelaide Hills Brie, Adelaide Hills Double Cream Brie, Adelaide Hills Triple Cream Brie and Adelaide Hills Ash Brie.
Next is the blue cheese – polarising to some but these guys aim to make a blue cheese that is full flavoured but not overpowering, like the Heysen Blue or Mawson Blue.
To round out this cheese board, Sheree chooses to serve a fresh cheese like Udder Delights Chevre or Persian Feta.
So how to tie all this together?
Add fresh figs from Willabrand Figs, a little prosciutto from Skara Fine Smallgoods, honeycomb from Buzz Honey, salty olives, dried fruits, pickled onions or cornichons for a bit of acidity alongside fresh crackers from Baylies Epicurean Delights or artisanal sourdough from the Mylor Bakery.
The fun thing about having three different cheeses on your board means you can pair three different wines.
Sheree recommends Shaw + Smith Chardonnay, Henschke Pinot Noir, Chain of Ponds Barbera (to suit your brie), Chain of Ponds Cabernet Sauvignon or a Honeymoon Vineyard classic tawny (to suit your blue), and Paracombe Rueben red wine (to suit your fresh cheese).
Sheree’s final tip is to remember to serve all cheese, except fresh cheese, at room temperature for the best mouth feel and full flavour.
Find Udder Delights at 91a Main Street, Hahndorf.
5. The Smelly Cheese Shop
There aren’t many who can go to the Adelaide Central Market and not stop past The Smelly Cheese Shop (or its sister stall, Say Cheese) to have a “quick look”.
Together, these stores showcase both local and imported cheeses.
Owner, Valérie Henbest, has shared her tips for a great cheese board.
Her first tip, less is more.
Focus on one or three big pieces of cheese as it will make more of an impact and you will also have a better chance to pair with a beverage.
Next, Valérie recommends focusing on the types of milk as it will provide you with a wider difference in terms of flavour profile.
For example, cow’s milk is sweet and buttery, goat’s milk is citrusy and zesty, and sheep’s milk is creamy, lingering and nutty.
Shape and texture are also important – choose cheeses with different shapes, colours and textures to make your board look more interesting.
When it comes to accompaniments, Valérie likes to let the cheese shine with as little as possible to interfere with them but for fresh cheeses, a crusty baguette is her go-to.
Other than that, Valérie recommends plain and thin crackers as well as fresh fruits and fruit pastas to add interesting contrasts in both colour and taste.
Finally, use one knife per cheese – you don’t want to end up with blue cheese in your brie or camembert.
As a cheese retailer, Valérie likes to support our local heroes, as well as the best artisanal producers from all over the world.
To accompany the cheese board, Valérie recommends purchasing local from the Adelaide Hills (Murdoch Hills, Howards Vineyards, Shaw & Smith, Lobo Cider), from McLaren Vale (SC Pannell, Primo Angove, Penny’s Hill, Wirra Wirra, Dowie Doole), the Barossa (St Hugo, Hentley Farm, Seppeltsfield, Dell’Uva) and Clare (Shut the Gate, Skillogalee).
Visit The Smelly Cheese Shop at the Adelaide Central Market, Shop 44.