Cheese and wine make for a magic combination, and a simple solution to the conundrum of what to serve at a gathering. Check out our go-to guide to celebrate New Zealand Cheese Month.
Who doesn’t love a great cheeseboard? But how do you choose the perfect selection for your next drinks or dinner get-together? We have rounded up our ideal collection.
Choose a variety of tastes and textures for your guests, including hard, fresh, semi-soft, soft, and blue cheese. Dried fruits and fruit pastes make a great accompaniment; we chose dried figs for our platter, but apricots, pears, Muscat raisins and even dried cherries work well. There’s a huge variety of fruit pastes available – from blackberry and brandy to feijoa and pear – and these can echo the flavour of your dried fruit. Cured meats such as prosciutto work beautifully with buffalo mozzarella, while black olives share the love with feta. And of course you’ll want a variety of fabulous crackers and/or lavosh to pair with everything.
It’s a good idea to plate up soft and semi-soft cheeses up to two hours before serving so they can come to room temperature. Take cured meats out of the fridge for 15 minutes for the same reason. It is up to you whether you want a formal presentation or something unstructured – guests might not want to disrupt anything too fussy, so a little messy is often the way to go.
Puhoi Valley Washed Rind
Double award winner Puhoi Valley Washed Rind is a soft, creamy cheese with a surprisingly sweet and subtle flavour. The distinctive orange and white rind comes from being hand washed then rubbed with cultures adding a strong earthy aroma and lingering flavour. When matured this is a strong-tasting cheese best paired with a full-bodied wine or beer.
Meyer Cheese Gouda
Meyer Cheese is a mainstay of the New Zealand Dairy industry, The second-generation family which immigrated from Holland own and manage the farm, animals and production of cheese so food miles are low and quality is high. One of the most highly awarded cheese producers in the land, in 2019 alone winning New Zealand Supreme title and trophy winner at the International cheese awards. Products are widely available at all good food stockists.
Kāpiti Kikorangi Cheese
With an unmistakable creamy golden curd and rivers of dark blue, Kāpiti’s award-winning Kikorangi is king of the blues. Triple cream cheese with a rich buttery texture marbled with blue veining ripens to create a smooth, delectable taste that’s guaranteed to invigorate the taste buds. Hero the velvety Kikorangi on a thin wafer cracker, and pair with a dessert wine such as port.
The Delta Wine Company Pinot Noir
Founded as a passionate Pinot Noir project, at The Delta Wine Company we have lovingly crafted wines for you the consumer, since 2000. Whether you are a connoisseur who knows their clones, or someone who simply enjoys their wine and food, we aim to provide you with great tasting wines that are elegant, restrained and made without pretence.
Barker’s of Geraldine’s Sundried Tomato & Caper Antipasto
Now it’s even easier to add extra flair to your next cheese platter. Barker’s of Geraldine’s new Antipasto range has five Mediterranean-inspired flavours to discover, including their Sundried Tomato & Caper Antipasto which is the perfect match for brie or camembert. Available in the olive aisle in New World & Pak’nSave stores nationwide.
A very popular cheese from the northern part of Italy, stracchino has no rind, embodies a soft and creamy texture and a mild delicate flavour. The taste is a little sour, being between cheese and yoghurt. ViaVio stracchino is made in a block which can be sliced or is spreadable. It is perfect on crackers and bread. The texture and flavour work well with a rocket salad, smoked salmon or whenever you require a delicate freshness in a dish.
Barker’s of Geraldine’s Fruit for Cheese
Barker’s of Geraldine’s Fruit for Cheese features not just one but two award-winners in its range of four delicious flavours. Their gold-winning Feijoa & Pear is the perfect way to add a fresh, fruity taste to your cheeseboard and matches well with goat’s cheese or other creamy cheeses. Available in the speciality cheese area in supermarkets nationwide.
Clevedon Buffalo Co. Marinated Buffalo Cheese
A thrilling creamy buffalo cheese marinated in an elegant combination of chilli and lime expertly complimented by the richness of avocado oil. This is a cheese for sharing on a platter with friends or as the star ingredient in a delicious meal. Try it with chicken or beef, with pasta or tortilla, toss through steamed broccolini or let it dress up a green salad. Marinated Buffalo Cheese is a delectable combination of flavours perfect for use in salads, pasta or vegetables, and is stunning spread on bruschetta or crackers. The marinade doubles as a tasty dressing whizzed together with herbs, lemon, honey, mustard, sea salt and a dash more olive oil.
What’s the point of great cheese platters and fabulous cracker toppings if you don’t have great Crackers, or Lavosh to go with it? 180 degrees solves this problem with their superb range of Oat Crackers made from Seeds and their Lavosh in three flavours, so enjoy pairing your favourite cheeses with one of 180 degrees sensational Crackers.
Clevedon Buffalo Co. Tartinade
These farm-fresh buffalo cheese spreads have been created based on the regional flavoured soft cheeses found in France and are our own fresh take on the product. Through experimentation with our exquisite salted curd, we discovered that it combined beautifully with herbs, spices and vegetables to make a delicious spreadable cheese. These versatile tartinades are great served with crostini or crackers or enjoyed as part of an antipasto offering, they make a fabulous addition to any cheese board and can add an extra bit of deliciousness to meat and vegetable dishes. The Smoked Paprika Tartinade is particularly good for adding creaminess and a smoky aroma to homemade burgers. Our Herb & Garlic Tartinade is delicious with mushrooms or beef. This Truffled Porcini & Pepper Tartinade makes a truly divine ravioli filling when combined with field mushrooms.
Kingsmeade Sunset Blue
Sunset Blue is a soft, rinded, creamy-textured cow’s milk cheese which is punctuated by a vivid blue mould. The award-winning apricot colour comes from a tropical fruit called Annatto. The rich, buttery quality of Sunset Blue pairs perfectly with a crisp oat cracker and sweeter red wine or port.