There’s nothing more reliable, easy and crowd-pleasing than cheese when entertaining, and Australia is home to some of the best producers in the world.
With the festive season on our doorstep and the inevitable increase in cocktail parties, long lunches and Sunday afternoon drinks, here is a fool-proof cheese platter for entertaining from The Dairy Kitchen. Perfect for party season!
The festive board
Looking for a Christmas table centrepiece that brings the ‘wow’ factor? Look no further than this delicious grazing board complete with all your favourite festive treats – from Christmas cake to gingerbread and the Australian cheese to match… yep, you heard right. Let the cheese do the talking here.
Choose your favourite Australian varieties and pair them with Christmas classics to add a little festive fanfare. Here’s our suggestions for building the perfect Christmas cheese board:
The cheese: Creamy brie, pungent washed rind, spicy blue, cloth bound cheddar.
Which one will you try first?
When it comes to choosing cheese at Christmas, think about catering to a range of tastes and try to offer something everyone will love like a classic vintage cheddar as well as something a little more complex like a washed rind for true connoisseurs. Also consider your textures and offer a range of hard and soft cheeses.
If you’re serving cheese at the end of the meal, avoid adding savoury flavours back into the mix, and don’t forget to ask your cheesemonger for advice on what’s ripe and ready for eating!
The accompaniments: Decorate your board with gingerbread, Christmas cake and mince pies, they’re the ‘tinsel’ on the board as well as the cracker for your cheese.
Don't forget to add accompaniments on your cheese board such as fruit, nuts, crackers, and even some jam paste
Christmas favourites go surprisingly well with cheese! A classic Australian brie or washed rind matches really well with sweet summer strawberries, cherries and gingerbread cookies. Contrast the creaminess with the crunch of a handful of pistachios, scattered atop the cheese.
For something more traditional, try an Australian cloth bound cheddar with fruitcake or mince pies! Something that has to be eaten to be believed – this partnership is an old English one and is a pleasant surprise.
What you’ll need: Blue cheese with candied hazelnuts, vintage cheddar with fruitcake or mince tarts, washed rind with cherries and nuts, brie with gingerbread and strawberries, served with port.
Pair a classic blue with hazelnuts – or try tossing them in toffee to take it to the next level! The sweetness of the toffee will cut through the saltiness of the cheese sending you and your guests to cheese heaven.
The tipple: Serve this decadent, festive board with port, sherry or your favourite dessert wine for a cracking good Christmas!
Jamie Oliver shares how he would create his festive cheese board
- Take your cheeses out of the fridge one hour (20 to 30 minutes on a hot day) before serving and cover with a damp tea towel to stop them drying out. Serving your cheese at room temperature means you’re getting the full impact of their texture and flavour
- Matured cheeses are generally at their best when they are closest to their best before date, so keep the date you plan to serve the cheese in mind when choosing the one for you
- If Christmas Day ends up being a hot one, sprinkle a few frozen seasonal grapes on the board to add some refreshing sweetness.
What is your go-to dish for party season?