TRAY CHIC

Jay Nutt, ex­ec­u­tive chef at Vi­amede Re­sort in Wood­view, ON, shares five steps to a per­fectly cu­rated cheese course.

Best Health - - CONTENTS -

Here’s how to cu­rate a party-per­fect cheese board

MIX IT UP

In­clude three cheeses and make sure that their tex­tures and flavours are var­ied. In­cor­po­rate one that’s creamy and mild, such as Brie or Camem­bert; one that’s rich and pun­gent, such as mild blue cheese or ripe tomme; and one that’s sharp and salty, such as Parmi­gianoReg­giano.

GET GAR­NISH­ING

Creamy cheeses pair well with nearly ev­ery­thing, pun­gent cheeses pair well with sweet grape toma­toes and ripe straw­ber­ries, and salty cheeses of­fer a per­fect con­trast to sweet wines and fruits. But you can also deck out your cheese board with pick­les (any­thing from clas­sic gherkins to pick­led onions) – the sweet, sour flavour and crunch will con­trast nicely with the cheeses. Spiced nuts will add even more crunch to the board and bring out the nutty un­der­tones that are part of the flavour pro­file for most cheeses, so use these as a fin­ish­ing touch.

MEAT THE BOARD

Add some char­cu­terie-style meats – their salti­ness and rich­ness will help stim­u­late your ap­petite. Prosci­utto, salami and capicollo are goto choices. Want salami, too? Try a game-based ver­sion – it is of­ten denser and has a more com­plex flavour than other va­ri­eties.

BRING ON THE BREAD

A freshly sliced baguette never dis­ap­points. If you’d rather prep ahead, you can make cros­tini the morn­ing of your soirée: Thinly slice a baguette, driz­zle with olive oil and toast it in the oven. In­clude rice crack­ers, ex­tra veg­gies and fruit, too. Don’t shy away from flavoured crack­ers but avoid ones that are too over­whelm­ing – let cheese be the star. Try rose­mary or savoury cran­berry pecan crack­ers in­stead.

ADD LIQUID AS­SETS

Go for sweet chut­neys, such as fig and rhubarb. They’re sweet, tangy, a bit spicy and boldly fa­mil­iar, which makes them the per­fect part­ner for many styles of cheese. Bal­samic-in­fused honey is a choice ac­com­pa­ni­ment as well. Savoury and spicy jams, such as caramelized onion, work, too. Keep small ramekins at the end of the board rather than driz­zling them on top.

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