Celebrated on 4 June every year, National Cheese Day honours the queen of the dairy world which has been a hero ingredient since the Neolithic times more than 7000 years ago.
Legend has it that the creation of cheese was a happy accident – a very happy accident for those who live and breathe cheesy goodness. The very first stinky cheese was made in a cave near Roquefort, France way back in 1040! Since then, cheese lovers everywhere have been busy creating and expanding the flavours and aromas of cheese by exploring the art form, giving us aged, ripened, smoked, soft and blue cheeses.
In the mid-1800s the first cheese factory opened its doors to begin mass-producing cheese and these doors have never closed (thank goodness).
While many of us think of ourselves as charcuterie board connoisseurs, many might not know the importance of balancing these flavours on your tastebuds.
Cheeseboards are often made with three to four different cheeses and different pairings of fruits, nuts, jams, breads, and cured meats. So, to help you out, our Market’s very own fromagers and fromagères have put a list together of a few of our favourite cheeses and the best things to pair them with this National Cheese Day.
Originating in 1700s northern Europe, blue cheese is a flavourful variety that is typically made from the milk of cows, sheep, and ewe. This type of cheese is laced with blue and/or greenish veins of mould and are matured for at least three to six months before they are enjoyed. With varieties ranging from mild to sharp, blue cheese is known for its salty bite. Salt is added to act as a preservative and keep bad bacteria from growing which means this cheese is paired well with anything sweet. Dress with some honey and add some apples, dried cranberries and olives to build the perfect set up. Oh, and the wine – you can’t forget the dessert wine!
If you’re a gooey cheese girl or guy, brie will be right up your alley. Decadent and rich in flavour, this French cheese is nicknamed the Queen of Cheeses – and rightfully so! Brie is a soft, ripened cheese and is wildly popular. Ripened cheese forms the white rind around the outside and while it may seem totally strange to some, this coating is 100% edible. Brie is made with cows’ milk and is matured for four to five weeks before taking to the shelves. A wonderful buttery and earthy mix, brie is made to be enjoyed with fruits like strawberries, pear and fresh or dried apricots. Smeared onto a wholegrain cracker with pickles and some chutney, brie is best enjoyed with a delicious fruity red wine or cider – you’ll be a cheeseboard champ in no time.
It feels so gouda to celebrate cheese! Gouda is a semi-hard cheese that originates from The Netherlands from as far back as the 12th century. Gouda can be aged for several weeks up to seven years and the age of the cheese you buy will seriously impact its taste. Young gouda is mild and creamy whereas older goudas are saltier and pungent – we’ll let you decide which you enjoy more. You can tell the difference between these varieties by the colour of their rind. Those with a yellow wax coating are generally younger while mature gouda has a black or darker coating. This cheese is a perfect addition to omelettes, toasted sandwiches, and burgers as it’s an excellent melter. For those wondering what pairs good(a) with gouda, we suggest red or green grapes, salami, fig jam and some baguette slices. The board is officially coming together!
Another French export, Port Salut is a semi-soft cheese made from cows’ milk and was traditionally produced by Trappist Monks in the 19th century. The creamy and smooth variety has a sweet and savory and flavour that will delight your tastebuds. Coated in a signature orange rind, this yellowish cheese develops a mushroom-y, ripe aroma as it matures. For serving, cut into small cubes to be enjoyed by your guests (and yourself – who doesn’t love a cheeseboard for one). Surround this cheese with carrots, celery, and plums as they pair deliciously. We also suggest adding pecans and ham to keep the flavours interesting.
There you have it – the perfect charcuterie board. Snap it, ‘gram it, devour it; we don’t care how you enjoy it.
For everything you need to make the perfect cheeseboard, visit any three of our helpful and fabulous delicatessens (Ross Pecora Cheeses, Nesh’s Corner Deli or Batory Continental Deli) at the Market – and wish them a Happy National Cheese Day from us!