Create the perfect cheese platter
Cheese and crackers can be anything from a stack of thin wafers and shavings from the family block of Edam, to a carefully curated array of hard, soft, sharp and mild cheeses with gourmet crackers and more. For fans of the latter, here are our tips for assembling the perfect cheese board to graze over on a lazy sunny afternoon.
- A mild, semi-hard cheese like an emmental, gouda or maasdam is a must on your platter. They add a contrasting texture to many other cheeses and their mild taste will appeal to adults and children who don’t like the intense flavours of other styles. Try New Zealand-made Karikaas Maasdam.
- There is a growing love for flavour-added cheeses such as spice, nut or herb-infused varieties (think Mahoe’s 2019 gold medal-winning Cumin Gouda). These flavoursome fromage add wonderful variety to a platter, are usually well-priced and appeal to a wide-range of cheese-tastes.
- Blue cheese is also an essential addition to a cheese platter. It’s quite unlike other cheeses, with mould added and then rods inserted to encourage it to grow (hence those threads of blue running through your favourite stilton). Choose a fairly firm and sharp blue such as 2020 gold medal-winning Kāpiti Awa Blue Cheese and pair it with rosemary crackers and a drizzle of honey.
- Hard cheeses like cheddar are often thought of as a bit dull but a good, quality aged cheddar takes things to the next level. Look for a cheddar aged at least 36 months and packaged in wax. We love award-winning Kāpiti’s Tuteremoana Aged Cheddar.
- Soft cheeses like brie and camembert are cheese platter staples. You want to really embrace the full fat taste with a double cream brie or try upping your cheese game with a soft washed rind like an Italian taleggio or New Zealand-made washed rind like Over the Moon Galactic Gold.
- Don’t just stick to cow’s milk cheeses. Sheep cheeses like manchego work well — or you could thinly shave some pecorino and serve with slices of ripe pear. A high-quality goat cheese would also work well. New Zealand’s The Drunken Nanny Black Tie ash coated goat cheese would be perfect.
- Remember to include some non-cheese accompaniments to make your cheeseboard truly Insta-worthy. Well-chosen additions complement cheese and cut through the creaminess to give you balance. Try to include a mix of textures and think savoury as well as sweet. We love to add a small pot of good-quality NZ honey, walnuts, medjool dates and grapes. Fruit pastes are also worth considering, but go beyond quince and try something a little different, we like the Barker’s of Geraldine Pomegranate and Black Pepper paste.