Perfect Cheeses to add to your Christmas Charcuterie Board
Tassos was recently asked by Good Food Guide for his top tips on what cheese and accents he would choose to add to a charcuterie board for Christmas. Check out his guide below for inspiration on the perfect platter.
Mild – Soft
Brie! Perfect summer cheese, soft light and goes with everything. No over powering notes and can be enjoyed by all ages
Strong – Soft
Epoisses. The king of cheese. Washed in Marc de Bourgogne. Orange exterior, lovely and golden in the centre. A slightly mild smell to the rind that over time will grow in strength. As a stronger cheese, pairs well with paté & cornichons
Mild – Hard
Tomme. Northern France. Can be in cow, goat or sheep milk depending on the region. A soft to fudgey texture similar to mozzarella but with greater flavour profile. Can be enjoyed alone or packed onto a baguette with meats, paté, cornichons and relish.
Strong – Hard
Ossua Irraty. The cheddar of France. Typically sheep milk. Stronger on the nose than the taste buds. Has a delicate sweetness to it and a light palate itch. Perfect with olives, cornichons and meats.
Great Local Victorian Options
L’artisan Extravagant is triple cream from a 3rd generation French cheese maker in Australia. Because of its high cream fat content, serving this one in summer it needs to come out of the fridge and immediately onto the platter.
Maffra Brie. Gippsland based. Truly lovely creamy Brie style cheese using locally sourced milk.
Berrys Creek Tarwin/Riverine Blue.
Berrys Creek produce blues that change your perception of a blue cheese. Tarwin is fudgey and dense with a decent ammonia hit, while Riverine, made from buffalo milk is smoother and slightly salty without the big “blue” hit.
Tips on serving your cheese
Softer cheeses are best cut into larger pieces and allowed to “breakdown” ooze onto the plate. Makes them perfect to use the bits of bread to scoop up.
Firmer cheeses can be cut into individual sizes for bread, crackers or a mini sandwich. Also perfect to eat harder cheeses on their own with your hands.
Bringing your cheese to temp.
Be aware of the ambient temperature. If it’s a warm day, your cheese doesn’t need to be long out of the fridge, however if it’s cool, bring your cheese out at least 1hr before serving.
Storing your cheese.
Where possible try to avoid cling wrap for your creamy cheeses. Use baking paper or cheese paper. For your hard cheese, you can wrap in plastic. Remember though cheese likes to breath. Blue cheese is best stored in foil, particularly the creamy and high water content blues like Roquefort.
Accents & Sides
- Truffle Honey is your go to here! The sweetness of the honey will compliment almost any cheese, but it’s the earthy truffle that changes the flavour profiles. Truffle Honey works best with Chèvre, Blue cheese and hard cheeses like Comte and Ossau Irraty.
- Add crunch and zing by using cornichons, a stable on any board.
- Paté like Duck Rillette is a must. The smooth texture of the duck gives a bold flavour and texture profile.
Other great sides are; marinated figs, fig & quince paste and fresh fruit. Think seasonally when pairing fruits: Berries, figs, grapes, apples, and apricots. Fruits and nuts are used well when they add to the board, not detract from it. This could be by choosing the wrong style of fruit eg. banana, or too much of it. (It’s not a fruit platter!)
Tassos Dermetzoglou is a self-confessed turophile and owner of The Thornbury Fromagerie, Thonbury’s first licensed cheese bar. All products listed are available for purchase online and in the restaurant. You can pre-order your Christmas Entertainer’s Pack HERE