Ok, it’s official. I am turning into a French person before my very eyes. Now, we know that I oooh la la love (see what I did there?) France and anything a little bit French, but I’ve always drawn the line at one of their most famous exports.
It’s not for me. Never has been. I mean, I could stomach a bit of (mild, thank you very much) cheddar or, cover your ears (eyes?) cheese connoisseurs, cream cheese, but any of the kinds that make you wonder whether it’s cheese or feet you’re smelling, nope. No thank you very much.
My husband however, he could eat the kind of stuff that makes you want to curl up and die. I’m not even slightly exaggerating, which I am known to do on occasion. We’ve had rows before about the smell of our fridge because of his love of cheese.
Maybe it’s because I’ve had 20 years of subliminal messages, or, maybe my tastebuds have changed now I’m a proper adult, but I’m finding myself partial to a bit of stinky cheese.
So, in the interest of sharing, because I’m nice like that, I thought I’d put together a post showing my favourite cheeses for a cheeseboard. If my husband had done it, I’m sure there would be a few more of the more, shall we say, pungent? cheeses to choose from, I’m going for strong but subtle flavours.
The start of any good cheese selection has got to be what it’s served on. Nobody wants a tatty cheese board now do they? I have used a serving platter from Judge Slate, which is around 45 x 25cm so it’s not too big, perfect size for a couple to share. It also has a little handle should you wish to take your cheeseboard to somewhere more comfortable….. Cheese is romantic no? Made from natural slate and acacia hardwood, the slate selection can be removed for easy cleaning, so the wooden frame stays in perfect shape. There are lots of different sizes to choose from, I’m feeling the rectangular one for tapas, but that’s a whole other post! The boards range from £16.50 up to around £36.00 for a Lazy Susan. Bloody Susan needs to sort herself out.
The Perfect Cheeses
A wedge of gooey Camembert and Brie. Both are quite creamy, and don’t have the overpowering taste of cheese, but if they’re good quality, they will still have enough flavour and runny-ness to please everyone. Even my kids eat Camembert. They especially love my baked tiger loaf, stuffed with Camembert, rosemary and garlic. Yum.
A tasty blue cheese. The bloke and I tend to disagree over this one. His favourite is Roquefort, mine is not. I still struggle with eating something that technically has mould in it, but I’m trying to adjust. I prefer a milder Danish blue, but I don’t eat enough of it to win, so he always gets to pick the Blue cheese. I’m nice like that. I’m not nice enough however, to let him have his most favourite cheese ever, Roblechon, unless he promises to eat the whole thing in one day so I don’t have to smell it.
Next up is a new favourite of mine, Port Salut. I mean, even the name is perfectly French for me. It’s like a soft cheddar, really hard to describe, which is probably why I’m not a food critic, but it’s tasty and goes very very well with my little cheese board.
Dress It Up
Obviously you need to add a few extras to your dish, especially if it’s coming out after a meal, or at a dinner party. You know, grown up stylee. The crackers make the dish, there are no two ways about it. My personal favourites are rice chilli crackers and sea salt crackers. They give the cheeses a little extra kick, and maybe take away some of the overpowering flavour, which isn’t always a bad thing. The bloke is a traditionalist and goes for Hovis crackers. Whatever floats your boat.
Throw in a bunch of grapes, some celery sticks and a few cherry tomatoes to up the vegetable rate and freshen the flavours, plus some really strong pickled onions and a caramelised red onion chutney and I am good to go.
I’m yet to find a red wine I like, no matter what it costs, it still tastes like vinegar to me, but I am more than happy to accompany this with a glass of white, or, a fruity cider, I’m not that fussy.
And that’s it. The perfect romantic cheeseboard.