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25 August 2016, Thursday

How To Make A Great Cheese (and Charcuterie) Platter

At the end of a harried day, on a warm night, nothing beats a well-crafted cheese platter, filled to the brim with the perfect accompaniments to a fine bottle of wine. Here's what you need for a relaxing night in:

There are 4 basic categories of cheese—aged, blue, firm and soft. Try to choose at least one from the each group for a nice mix of texture and flavour.

Semi-hard: Aged Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gouda
Soft: Brie, Camembert, Brillat-Savarin
Aged and Hard: Aged Cheddar, Gruyere
Blue: Gorgonzola Dolce,Roquefort, Stilton

Baguette slices, crackers and breadsticks are the order of the day. As with the cheeses on your cheese platter, vary the texture but refrain from strong-flavoured breads and crackers (such as garlic, herbed etc) to avoid overwhelming the flavours of the cheeses.

However, breads flavoured with olives or walnuts are exceptions as these flavours complement cheeses rather well.

Go for a variety of flavours that complement your selections of cheeses. For instance, the spicy-saltiness of mustard pairs well with sharp cheddar and other strong and hard cheeses; whereas a sweet and tart cherry preserve would be great for accentuating the nuttiness of a Swiss cheese. If you’re a fan of truffles, truffle honey pairs splendidly with a goat’s cheese like Chèvre.

Other accompaniments:
Grilled peaches, fresh grapes, caramelised onions, olives and a selection of cured meats are fantastic additions to your cheese (and charcuterie) platter.


Perfect cheese platter how to pair wines
And of course, Wine.

Ah, wine. Whether it's a cosy dinner for two or a gathering between friends, nothing elevates the experience like a bottle (or two) of fine wine. Pair your wines with your cheese platter well to accentuate the flavours of both your wine and cheese.

Aged and Hard cheeses: A strong red wine goes well with aged cheeses. The bold umami flavours from aged cheese holds up well against a strong red wine. 
Examples of a wine that could work with cheese made from cow's milk is cabernet Sauvginon or Austrian Blaufrankisch. We highly recommend the Berte Caberenet and Opitz Vierteljoch Blaufrankisch, both of which so impressed us on the first sip that we just knew we had to include them in our portfolio of curated wines.

Semi-Hard: A semi-hard cheese has a lighter flavour compared to aged cheeses and thus, pairs very well with delicate and lighter reds like the Segni di Langa Pinot Noir

Blue Cheese: The perfect cheese for sweet wine. The sweetness of the wines is a wonderful complement to the saltiness of the cheese. Our Mowes Beerenauslese Riesling has a sweetness that is perfect with blue cheese. The notes of dried apricot in this wine moderates the characteristic pungence of blue cheese.

Soft: The natural acidity in white wines pairs well with soft cheeses. If it is a cheese made from sheep or goat's milk, try a mineral sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre or New Zealand. The grassy flavours in these wines harmonises perfectly with the grassy flavour of the cheese. We have a Berte Sauvignon Blanc from Italy that also does this very well.

If it's a cheese made with cow's milk, a simple chardonnay would do very nicely. The berte chardonnay is stirred with its lees (grape remains) leaving the wine with a creamy texture to match the creaminess of cow's milk.

So there you go, everything you need to know for a perfect cheese platter.


Bon appetit!

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