With the cheese board I decided to make today, I went with an unconventional approach and decided to throw a bunch of different cheeses together. In particular, these cheeses are a few of my favorites. I never met a cheese I didn’t like. This includes the moldy cheeses, the soft cheeses and most importantly the hard cheeses. The older they are, the better. When I think of a farm house cheese board, I think of cheeses that have been aged for quite a while. Now this is fine when you are dealing with your parmesans, pecorinos, and manchegos. You don’t often find too many soft cheeses that have been aged for years and years. This was where I went a little unconventional with my farmstead cheese board. I’m not upset. It totally needed a soft cheese (that wasn’t gorgonzola), and with this addition, it only made my cheese board that much tastier. I’m sure there will be something on this board you or your guests will find appetizing, and we have a great beer to pair with it too!
I like cheddars, but I’m not IN LOVE with them. I skipped the cheddar on my farmstead cheese board, which is almost a necessity on most farmstead cheese boards. I feel that there are so many other great cheeses out there that are “rustic” enough to be invited into the mix. That’s the feel you should get when you are preparing your farmstead cheese board: rustic. It doesn’t have to be gorgeous in the glitzy, glamoury sort of way. It needs to be gorgeous in the rustic sense. You want dried fruits and maybe a fresh apple or two. You want nuts and berries and jams. All of these things make you feel like you’re at home on the countryside. You don’t want to skip this most necessary step.
Now these cheese boards are totally based on personal preference. You certainly do not have to go with the same cheeses I have used, and it is quite possible that you won’t find some of the cheeses I have used either. Either way, you will find something similar, if not better. If you love cheddars, throw a block of cheddar on the board, but stay true to the theme and buy an aged, extra sharp one. Your guests will appreciate your efforts that much more! I mean that’s why we are all here right? You’re certainly not going to sit down and devour a whole cheese board on your own?
OK, don’t answer that.
It is quite possible that some of you would devour the entire cheese board…ahem, I quite possible would that’s for sure…if I knew that I would survive to the next day.
Anyway, the purpose of making most cheese boards is for entertaining purposes. They are simple which makes entertaining that much more fun. You can make them beautiful and tasty without putting a ton of work into them, and if you are paying close attention, you don’t have to spend a ton either (just watch for the special cheeses that are being sold a discounted rate). They will always go on sale at some point, you just have to watch out for them!
What we used down to the nitty gritty:
1/4 lb of Parmesan Reggiano (Italian): A skimmed cow’s milk cheese that is very sweet and fruity. Strong and rich, but not overpowering.
1/4 lb of Drunken Goat Cheese (with edible rind) (Spain): A goat’s milk cheese that is washed and brushed with local wines during it’s curing. It’s semi-soft, rich, fine-texture and has a creamy flavor/aftertaste.
1/3 lb Triple-Cream Cheese (brie, camembert, or other soft cheese will do) (French and/or Irish): A cow’s milk cheese, they are luscious and a little “stinky.” They are spreadable and oozy, and extremely soft. They are perfect with dried fruits and jams.
You will also need:
a handful of dried apricots
thin wafer-like crackers
a handful of toasted almonds, pistachios, or other rustic nut =)
Well you wouldn’t be down on the farm without a barley-wine style ale! It’s funny because any time I have ever had a sip of barley wine, it has had me thinking of the countryside. Barley wines are absolutely fantastic, and one of my favorite types of beer. Great Divide’s Old Ruffian Barley Wine-Style Ale is truly fantastic. It is hefty and hoppy (according to it’s bottle labeling) and is in my opinion very fruity. What are the flavors that come with drinking a glass of red or white? That’s right…fruity flavors. Are you getting my point here? We want to imitate wine as much as possible here without it becoming wine. And no, barley wines are not wines. They are specialty brewed ales that just happen to be called barley wines. They are great with cheeses, fruits, dried fruits and nuts. The absolute perfect pairing!
We are so absolutely sorry for our absence this week. It’s been a rough one with moving and guess what…we aren’t finished unpacking yet! Ugh, hopefully it will all be over soon! We are making a delicious duck fried rice with our left over duck (from Easter day) for dinner tonight and we are super excited about it! We hope everyone had a great holiday weekend/week!
- ¼ lb block Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- ¼ lb block semi-soft goat cheese
- 1/3 lb wedge Les Freres or a soft brie or camembert
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- ½ cup toasted almonds
- 10-12 thin wafer crackers
- ¼ cup <a href="http://www.cookingandbeer.com/2013/03/raspberry-ginger-and-cinnamon-jam/">Raspberry, Ginger and Cinnamon Jam</a> (or other fruity jam)
- Assemble the cheeses how you wish onto a large serving platter, making sure to leave enough room for your guests to cut pieces of cheese with the proper cheese tools.
- Garnish with apricots, almond, crackers and jam.
- Serve with your <a href="http://greatdivide.com/beer/seasonal/tank-farm/old-ruffian-barley-wine/?verified=true">Great Divide's Old Ruffian Barley Wine-Style Ale</a>.
Hardware: * Cheese Utensils * Small Ramekins * Cheese Platter *