As the year shifts into party season, entertaining skills are very much on show. Want to knock your guests’ socks off by putting together a terrific cheese platter? Here are some of Lyndall’s tips on flavour-matching to help you take it to the taste stratosphere…
If you’re a beginner, Lyndall’s advice is to create your platter around three base cheeses:
This gives a good spectrum of flavour profiles and mouth-feels for your guests, she says. If you’d like to include more cheeses, as a rule of thumb, stick to odd numbers (five, seven, and so on) to ensure beautiful presentation. “Because we eat with our eyes first,” says Lyndall. Florists always decorate with uneven numbers, and so should foodies, she says.
Lyndall’s top tip is combining a powerful blue with a fig-based condiment, such as fig and pomegranate jam, or fig and bay leaf (both available at the deli). “It’s sweet versus salty,” she says. “Flavours really hit in different areas of your mouth. It’s all about engaging those five senses of taste. So, if you’ve got that real boldness of the blue – that real unami (savoury) taste – it’s being balanced out by the of the fig and pomegranate. The nice thing about fig is that it’s not necessarily just sweet – it has a lot of other flavours going on. Then if you add wine over and above that, acidity from the wine gives you another level again.”
To partner the softer cheeses, Lyndall recommends supple sweeter flavours such as pear, jellies such as the champagne and vanilla jelly or Riesling jelly, available at the deli. The best wine matches for soft cheese are the lightest reds, but especially whites or bubbles, she says.
There is such a huge variety of gouda that it is hard to pin down a one-size-fits-all platter partner for these beautifully complex cheeses, Lyndall says. As a general rule, cured meats work very well, as do sharp condiments such as a quince paste. But Lyndall says when she’s eating gouda, she loves to have something with a bit of crunch on the platter, such as fresh crispy celery.
Never have a serving plate that’s too large and gappy, says Lyndall – but also don’t choose a plate too small. “You don’t want it all too crowded because you need room to put crackers and a few condiments on there so that everything works together; you need that synergy on there. And of course so that your guests can serve themselves without elbowing the cheeses off the platter.”
For more winning advice on creating a top cheese platter matched with the perfect condiments, visit our team at the deli, seven days a week from 9am to 5pm.