A gorgeous spread of cheese, fruit, bread and crackers is always a joy to get stuck into, and a lovely way to end any meal – from chilly winter feasts to balmy summer barbecues. So, inspired by the foodie adventures of don Gennaro Contaldo, we’ve put together a few basic rules for the ultimate cheeseboard.
Watch Gennaro as he tastes three seriously good cheeses in a rural Italian cheese shop, then check out our tips below for building your own ultimate cheeseboard at home.
Soft, creamy cheeses are great carriers of flavour and provide the perfect start to a cheeseboard. Load up a hunk of ciabatta with a soft cheese like Ricotta, brie or Tunworth and drizzle with honey and thyme for a hit of sweet and savoury. Any leftovers can be crumbled into a super easy pasta bake, or used in this indulgent leeks recipe.
Fontina, Gruyère and Kirkham’s Lancashire are all mild cheeses, perfect for balancing the creaminess of soft cheese with more complex flavours. Gennaro’s choice of mild cheese, Fontina, is packed with an intense creaminess that’s mega when served with truffle oil or mushrooms. Add a little dish of honey with a few drops of truffle oil to the board for a beautiful accompaniment that’ll really surprise guests and make taste buds tingle! For an extra cheesy pasta dish, use up any leftover mild cheese in a gorgeous ozzy sauce.
Blue cheeses tend to be pungent and full of bold, sharp flavour. Cheeses like Stilton, Roquefort or Bleu d’aoste hold up well when paired with something sweet – serve them with homemade strawberry jam or a sweet tomato chutney for a balanced mouthful of joy. The award-winning Bleu d’aoste, featured in Gennaro’s video above, is often on specials boards at Jamie’s Italian restaurants and is definitely worth seeking out. Use any blue cheese that you have left in this sweet potato frittata recipe – ideal for a smart supper or summer picnic.