How to build a cheese board in Brisbane City
Sweet baby cheeses! Thinking of nestling that chunk of cheddar into a pile of grapes? Ever thought of serving syrupy honeycomb over a buttery blue? This is your complete guide on what to put on a cheese platter with guidance from Brisbane foodie and cheesemonger Sharyn de Kort.
Read on for the ultimate formula for crafting your cheese platter or jump to the end to find the best places to shop for cheese, meats and platter accompaniments in Brisbane City.
Choosing your cheese
How should you pick your cheese? One way is the textural approach, choosing a white mould, semi-hard, aged, firm, washed rind, soft and a blue cheese. Cheesemonger Sharyn de Kort recommends selecting cheese by animal’s milk.
“When I put a cheese platter together I try and do a selection of cow, goat and sheep. Another good rule of thumb is to always put out a brie, a blue, a cheddar and a sheep-goat mix.”
Once you’ve chosen your cheeses, make sure you bring them to room temperature before serving. You want a gooey consistency so you can experience the full, mouth-watering flavours.
Add your accompaniments
Finding the perfect pairings is critical to the success of your cheese platter as they intensify and change flavours. You want to open your palate and use accompaniments that excite the senses, rather than overpower them.
“I wouldn’t pair cheese with anything acidic. Choose fruit that goes with the palate. You want something that continues to dance and tells a story,” Sharyn said.
Stone fruit like pear, nectarine and peach go well with a washed rind or blue cheese. Opposites attract, so a strong, ripe cheese will pair perfectly with sticky, sweet fruits. You can find seasonal produce in the heart of the city at the Brisbane City Markets every Wednesday.
“I love fresh fruit. It adds colour and you’re supporting your local market, purchasing seasonal produce,” Sharyn said.
When figs are in season, they need to make an appearance on your cheese board. Try drunken figs with a strong cheese – soaking figs in whiskey or port is a decadent choice, especially during the festive season.
If opting for dried fruit, Sharyn recommends muscatels and dates. The sweetness enhances the taste of a blue cheese or cheddar.
“It’s very traditional to have a fresh baguette and cheese but I also enjoy a gluten-free biscuit that’s not too strong in flavour,” Sharyn said.
Charcuterie brings nutty, salty and peppery flavours to a platter. Cured meat, like cheese, is packed with salt, fat and proteins. Salami, prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano are classic pairings.
Parfaits, pates, olives, chutneys and pastes can heighten the buttery and earthy flavours we love to sample.
Quick tip: Pair honey or some honeycomb with a blue rather than a quince paste if you want to try something different. Roasted hazelnuts over brie also works a treat.
Arrange your platter
There are lots of ways to arrange a cheese platter. If you want to be on your best briehaviour, the French traditionally serve odd numbers of cheese. The rationale is that it’s aesthetically appealing.
You can also sort your cheese from mild to strong in a clockwise direction, working your way up to the strongest flavour.
“When I style a board it’s about colour, texture and shapes. I might do a square, triangle and round shape so it’s visually enticing,” Sharyn said.
A dramatic and unique way to serve a feasting platter is to go for a single sensation on its own board.
“There’s nothing wrong with just having a kilo wheel of cheese on a board. It has an impact and looks fantastic. Like a big beautiful brie," Sharyn said.
“Try not to overload the board - you want to move between the pieces. I know heavily loaded boards are a popular style but I like to see everything and not touch one knife with the next.
“I also love putting a lovely big chunk of salami on the table that people can cut themselves. It adds to the whole rustic look.”
Sharyn also likes to style a grazing station with breadsticks, fresh lavender and candles.
Piecing together the ultimate cheese board in Brisbane City
Ready to MYO cheese board? Check out these classic and contemporary options for the ultimate spread.
Ah yes, nothing wrong with some supermarket brie, blue or camembert. Now you know the secrets to perfecting a cheese spread, seek out some accompaniments at your local grocer and make it yourself. This is a great option if you have a tight budget or just want maximum options. Head to Woolworths Macarthur Chambers, Coles Myer Centre, Coles Queens Plaza or Woolworths Metro on Tank Street and Anzac Square.
Brisbane’s only inner-city winery has two cellar door locations in the CBD. Pop by the Edward St cellar door to pick up an assortment of delicious cheeses, meats and accompaniments for your cheese board, which can be enjoyed in house with a glass of locally made wine or taken away to a picnic location of your choice.
The Croft House offers a wide range of cheeses and meats for your perusal as well as its seasonal homemade preserves such as orange and lemon myrtle marmalade, strawberry jam and tomato chutney. Dine in to pick and mix from the cabinet selection or grab a picnic hamper for two complete with sandwiches, charcuterie, cheese with fig jam and trail mix, whole fruits and sparkling water.
An all day brunch favourite in the CBD, Felix for Goodness has a range of takeaway goodies for you to add to your cheese spread. Head down Burnett Lane to finds various seasonal pickled foods and preserves to add a little flavour to your board.
Queen of cakes Jocelyn’s Provisions offers some sweet treats to enjoy alongside your cheese board – from parmesan rounds and cheese straws to oatcakes and almond bread. There’s also a range of hampers on offer with everything you need for the ultimate spread – just add cheese!
Whether you’re organising a gourmet gift hamper or a corporate event, pairing the right beverage with your food can be an art form in itself. Malt Traders specialises in craft beer, bio dynamic and organic wines and single malt whiskey. It also supplies three-course picnic hampers to be enjoyed in your favourite Brisbane spot. Treat yourself to a riverside picnic with a cheese platter and bottle of wine to match. If you want to know what drinks to serve with your feasting platter, pop into Malt Traders' specialty store in Market Street, Brisbane City.
Keen to dine in? Order up cheese and meats at Coppa Spuntino at Eagle St, The Croft House on Charlotte St, Alba in Burnett Lane, City Winery Cellar Door on Edward St, or the Pool Terrace Bar at the Hyatt Regency Brisbane in Queen St.