When you have a nice bottle of Savage Vines wine to open, you should consider making a cheese board to compliment your wine. Whether you’re entertaining your friends or treating yourself at the end of the week, a cheese board can transform your wine into liquid gold. It has the power to turn a dull evening on the couch into a banging party for one. If you have never made a cheese board before it can be surprisingly overwhelming. Different wines will work better with certain cheeses, meats and even nuts.
Stress less, the Savage Vines team are here to help. Here is our handy guide for putting together the perfect cheese board for any occasion.
Pairing cheese & wine
When you make a cheese board, consideration should be given to the wines you will be drinking. If you haven’t decided on the wine yet, a general rule for selecting cheese should be to buy one of each type: soft, hard, and blue.
A soft cheese, such as brie or camembert, has a mild flavour that will compliment a variety of wines and not be too overpowering. Hard cheeses, like sharp cheddar or pecorino, have a bit more power and dryness that allow the fruit of a wine to shine through. These cheese types pair especially well with big, jammy wines like Malbec’s from Argentina or a Syrah from the Rhone Valley in France or Margaret River in Western Australia. A blue cheese contrasts the flavours in the wine and allows your palate to see wine in a different way, bringing out the nuances and complexities of the flavour. In particular, a buttery white wine can be a fascinating combination when paired with gorgonzola cheese. For those Chardonnay fans out there… hint hint!
Where to buy your cheese
When you make a cheese board, you don’t have to spend a fortune or necessarily seek out a specialty cheese shop. Most supermarkets have a pretty extensive selection of cheese now days and will often have staff who can help you make an informed decision. They should be able to tell you about the texture and taste of each cheese. However, we do recommend visiting a specialty cheese shop or farmer’s market to give you a vast selection of unique varieties and a fresher product. If you’re at a specialty shop, ask to try a few different cheeses. Most places will be happy to give you a small sample so you can make the right decision. Some of the better cheese shops in London are below:
When constructing your cheese board master piece, you will want to add other flavours, textures and colours to really get the best out of your wine. Adding savoury flavours like charcuterie compliment the wines flavour and aromas, especially in heavier or oaked red wine. Salami and prosciutto are excellent additions when making a cheese board. In addition to introducing new flavour combinations, they provide substance and a bit of protein to the plate. Who said a cheese board couldn’t be a meal!?
If you or your friends are vegetarian, or if you’re looking to add more flavours when making a cheese board, there are other ways to add savoury items. Olives and cornichon’s bring additional salt and vinegar onto the board. These work particularly well with white wines as they can neutralise a little bit of the acidity.
Cheese & fruit: An unlikely pairing
A selection of cheese and charcuterie is well regarded as the perfect compliment to a wine. However, many cheese boards neglect to include fruits and sweeter flavours. The worry here is that the fruit on the board will compete with the flavours of the wine, when in fact, adding these can make your cheese board quite unique and bold. The freshness of the fruit can give your palate a break between the wine and savoury items. Unfortunately there is a limit on how much wine, cheese and charcuterie your body can take in one sitting!
Dried fruit and nuts are a great way to add more texture to your cheese board, along with helping to fill it out.
Taking it one step further, include some fresh fruits for added sweetness and acidity. Berries and figs help balance the dairy in the cheese. It can also help cleanse your palate and bring your attention to the freshness of the fruit behind the wine. Fruit will keep you feeling refreshed and adds beautiful colour to the cheese board.
The finishing touches when making a cheese board
While many people use crackers, the French prefer to use bread like a fresh baguette to accompany the food on the plate. The soft bread and crunchy exterior adds dimension to the cheese and does not distract from the flavours of the other foods.
Slate or olive wood platters?
One final thing is to think about is the style of platter you want to use as well. Just as you might want to buy a wine with a cool label, presentation matters, and investing in a decent platter can reap massive dividends. Platters made out of olive wood and slate are your best options as they will last forever and present very well.
The best part about making a cheese board instead of purchasing one in the store, is that you have unlimited options to customise to your personal preferences. If you like a specific type of cheese, you can build your entire board around that these. There are unlimited options available, and more importantly, every combination is worth trying at least once to make a cheese board that is delicious and memorable.
Wine & Cheese Tasting Events
If you want to let someone else do the planning for you, why not host a wine tasting event with Savage Vines ? We offer both private and corporate wine tasting events at the cost of £30 per person. The events include five glasses of organic and biodynamic wine and a tasting plate with fresh bread, nuts, dried fruit, a selection of cheeses, and charcuterie.
We will travel anywhere in the UK to host a fun and informative session on organic and biodynamic wine in your home or office. A member of our team will teach you in more detail about the wine-making methods from the wineries we partner with and share some trade secrets about how to buy wine and pair it with the perfect cheese or dinner.
If you enjoyed this article and want to share it with friends before inviting them over for wine and cheese, share it using the links below. Alternatively, if you have a spare 5 minutes, why don’t you find out how to Drive to Champagne!