SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF CHEESE, WHO AM I TO DIS A BRIE?
The undoubtedly enjoyable pastime of appreciating cheese has, by no means, been as glamorous or delicious as it is today. Dating back to 6000 BCE, without refrigeration, salt was most likely added for preservation purposes and the earliest forms of cheese would have been similar to that of a salty curds and whey, or cottage cheese.
Thankfully, the curious nature and evolving taste buds of our eager ancestors helped develop and refine the cheese-making process so we could admire and worship it today.
During the dizzying highs of the Roman Empire, cheese started to play a major part in their decadent, foodie lifestyles. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for a typical Roman home to have a separate kitchen used solely for the making, ageing and storing of cheese. With Rome’s contribution to expanding trade, cheese making became a mature craft and the makers learnt how to produce various kinds of cheese that would stand the test of time when being transported.
Experimentation started to take place and after the decline of the Roman Empire, monks and monasteries became fluent in the craft of cheese making. By the Middle Ages, Italy became the cheese-making centre of Europe and it was the Romans who subsequently introduced the art of cheese-making to England and France. Today there are over 400 varieties of cheese originating in France and around 700 named British cheeses.
A large percentage of today’s society has an insatiable hunger for cheese. We know this because unlike in previous decades, cheese lovers can relax in cafés where the only thing on the menu is cheese, gourmet cheese is being delivered straight to people’s doorsteps and you can even partake in the artisan craft itself with your very own ‘cheese-making kit’. In addition to this, there are clubs and societies that you can join and pay ‘Homage to Fromage’ on a Friday night.
In today’s connoisseur culture, cheese has become somewhat of a phenomenon. Cheese makers have reverted back to traditional artisan methods in favour of mass production and cheeseboards have become far more eclectic and adventurous. Cheese lovers have created a sub-culture-like following and there’s no better time to hone-in on the trend.
Take a peek at our cheese board suggestions below and see how you can indulge in a practice that has perfected over the centuries.
When entertaining with cheese, a great way to project an authentic Parisian ambience is with Lockhart’s Wood Rect Handled Board, the oak paddleboards are a wonderful addition to the already popular collection of natural and rustic boards. Organically shaped to appeal to the natural rustic look on the table top. The Large Rect Mango Wood Plank is also a statement piece and the perfect way to present cheese. The Master Class Gourmet Prep and Serve boards are perfect for cutting, serving, chopping and décor.
Once you’ve settled on the perfect Parisian look, the next thing to do is start thinking French.
When it comes to the classic French cheese board, simplicity is the key; start with some grapes, a fresh warm baguette and a familiar soft ripened cheese. This way your guests are less likely to be discouraged by the lesser known varieties. A simple and safe Brie de Meaux is a creamy cow’s milk choice that no-one could refuse.
Wrap your baguettes in a cotton cloth napkin to keep them warm and place them into a Poly Wicker Rectangle Willow Basket, the shape caters perfectly for the presentation of the French baguette and sits stylishly upon the table top.
Goat’s cheese is always a staple addition to a cheese board because of its distinct and fresh flavours; Cabichou is soft ripened and simply melts in the mouth. A tantalising caramelised red onion chutney decanted into Lockhart’s rustic Igneous Ramekin provides a sweet and tart balance to any goat’s cheese.
For more information on the innovative rustic Igneous range by Lockhart please click here
Ossau-Iraty is a semi soft, sheep’s milk cheese, full of delicious robust and nutty flavours whilst serving as another variety of milk on the board.
And finally, when choosing a blue cheese, unless you know your guests are particularly fond of the stronger variants, St Agur would be the safer route due to being milder in nature.
For something a little different, try adding a drizzle of honey to your blue cheese.
Remember to keep the stronger cheeses as far away from the milder cheeses as possible, Lockhart has a great solution for keeping your cheese separate; the Artesa 3pc Serving Domes featuring a beautiful combination of natural materials, it is easy to serve tapas, entrees, cheese and desserts with style. This serving set features three slate inserts within a beautifully rich acacia wood frame and is elegantly finished with three glass domed cloche lids. The slate inserts are also removable for use as coasters or individual serving plates. Glass dome dishwasher safe, Slate & wooden platter wipe clean only. Also with a 5-year guarantee.
With the variety of cheeses you have on your board, it’s good to set out with the correct utensils, this 4 Piece Acacia Wood Cheese Knife Set is long lasting, stylish and affordable. It contains Parmesan, Soft Cheese, Hard Cheese and Bell Knives with Acacia Wood handles and will definitely show your guests that you know how throw the perfect cheese party.