By Kate Foster
Some things were just made for each other. Tea and biscuits; roast spuds and gravy; bread and cheese. In fact, bread and cheese offers so much scope for imagination and variety – and is so darned delicious – that it makes a pretty good meal in itself.
Bread and cheese together offer infinite options, so it’s worth taking some time to think about what goes with what. In honour of this weekend’s Cheese and Wine Festival at London’s South Bank Centre, we recently teamed up with cheese emporium Paxton and Whitfield to explore some of the tastiest bread and cheese pairings around.
And the verdict? Well, it’s all about texture and balance of flavours, from the classic to the adventurous. For example, fresh, tangy goats’ cheese works beautifully with a nutty loaf, bringing sharp and mellow together in dramatic contrast. Try it with a handful of lightly dressed lamb’s lettuce tossed with halved crimson grapes.
We liked: Flour Station Walnut Levain with P&W Aldwych Goat
Like your cheese with a bit more bite? Then try slivers of strong Cheddar loaded onto a chunk of classic, sweetly flavoursome sourdough and a dollop of red onion marmalade. Fancy even more bite? Then ditch the marmalade and try a drizzle of the syrup from a jar of Italian mostarda di frutta, for a sweet-spicy kick.
We liked: Flour Station Tortano Crown with P&W Westcombe Cheddar
And don’t overlook fruited breads, either. Lightly toasted, they make the perfect base for cheesy canapés. Contrast the sweetness with a salty cheese like Picos Blue, Dolcelatte or even a sharp, crumbly feta and add a sprinkle of earthy-tasting peashoots for colour and crunch.
We liked: Flour Station Spelt and Sultana Levain with P&W Picos de Europa
Finally, let’s not forget rye bread, often paired with gooey, sweet, nutty Swiss cheese in a classic Reuben sandwich. Aside from that classic marriage of flavours and textures, rye bread works a treat with rinded cheeses such as Brie and Reblochon – subtle, chewy crumb meets not-so-subtle, yielding pong. Great straight up (with some really good butter) or take it to a new level with pungent Pont l’Eveque on rye toast, alongside a little gem salad, cut with slivers of juicy cantaloupe melon snipped chives.
We liked: Flour Station Light Rye and Caraway with P&W Baronet
With options like that, who needs to cook?
Find out more about Paxton and Whitfield’s cheeses.