Header image courtesy of Cheese Club
Nothing in the world compares to cheese; no matter if soft or hard, melted or sliced, fragrant or mild, eaten by itself or as part of a dish, cheese lends sublime flavour to coat your taste buds. Lending us their expertise, the connoisseurs at Cheese Club share their favourite ways to enjoy cheese that you can easily try for yourself to take your palate to the next level.
An authentic French meal is typically split into four courses that span across a starter, a main dish, a selection of cheeses—hereby important enough to occupy its own dedicated category—and dessert. In fact, the cheese course is perhaps one of the most French eats there is, as these pre-dessert platters have long been a traditional staple of the cuisine.
For true French flavours, opt for classics like aged Comté, Camembert, Sainte-Maure de Touraine, and Roquefort. In fact, these four selections make for a perfect rotation, as there is a good variety of textures and flavours, in addition to using many types of milk.
Serving is simple! Find a large plate or wooden board that can easily be passed around or take centre stage on your dinner table, and serve the selections with a side of fresh greens; suggested combinations include a mix of rocket, lettuce, and spinach.
If you want to add carbs for contrast, reach for a freshly baked baguette, as it is the sidepiece of choice for the French with no debate. Top it all off with a fruity red wine, like a Burgundy Pinot noir, perhaps a Bourgogne AOC, or a Gamay from the Rhône Valley.
Drawing inspiration from the French, gourmands from around the world love to turn to a cheese board when it comes to sharing meals. Just the perfect aperitif, it makes every get-together all the more special. The secret to a perfect board arrangement is ensuring a mix of contrasting flavours, and diverse selections.
Some Cheese Club recommendations include a mature Gouda or Parmigiano against a runny, lactescent Saint-Marcellin, a mellow Bleu d’Auvergne, some crumbly Riberiego with truffles, and a silky Brie de Meaux. Feel free to mix and match the goodies with garnishes, keeping in mind to pack in different complementing textures and flavours.
Crackers are great, but so are dried nuts like almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts as crunchy and salty accompaniments. Meat lovers can delight in the elevated experience of tucking into cold cuts, which should be picked based the balance they can strike with your cheese.
The rule of thumb is to find a protein that challenges your cheeses’ aromas without overpowering them entirely, making for interesting combinations. Juicy Ibérico ham works with the feel of Riberiego, yet when paired with Gouda, it would be too much for the saltiness and smokiness of the slices. On the other hand, a chewy traditional French dry sausage would work better with an option that is creamy and soft, like brie de Meaux.
For a sweet touch, both fresh and dried fruits work great. Dates, figs, grape, or pear are fantastic choices, or you could even turn to jam and compote for an extra punch of sugar. How about some honey as an alternate to drizzle over your cheeses? Round it all off with something light and refreshing to keep it going, opting for a rosé or champagne.
Cheese has been a long-time staple in many cuisines, and as a main ingredient, it carries a variety of tastes and textures that can perk up just about any dish. You may be itching to enjoy your cheese straight away, but holding out a bit longer is worth it so that you can incorporate the cheese into all of your meal. For an easy square meal, you only need a handful of types of cheeses, which don’t at all require godlike levels of prep and cooking.
Starting with your appetiser, cheese makes for the perfect topping to any simple salad. Feta is great for Greek salad, whilst Caprese salad is incomplete without fresh mozzarella di bufala slices. Consider also the baked Crottin salad, which wows in both flavour and presentation.
Pull out all the stops for the main course by sharing a comforting melted cheese dish. A mix of mountain cheese and white wine, fondue adds an air of conviviality to your meal thanks to the communal activity of dipping bread and meats into the cheese together.
Another stunning selection is raclette, which serves dripping lava of mid-melting cheese across a bed of potatoes with cold cuts, making for a show in the process of serving. The last item to add is the humble side dish of gratin dauphinois, a classic French dish arranged from potato slices baked in milk or cream with a layer of crisped cheese on top.
Are you drooling yet? We know we are, and only a load of the finest cheese will sate this particular craving. However, buying premium cheeses in Hong Kong is not always an easy task, especially when you have a taste for varieties beyond Parmesan and cheddar.
Introducing Cheese Club, founded by two French entrepreneurs who longed for the irreplaceable tastes of their favourite cheeses amidst scant in-store options at high prices.
Cheese Club focuses on the pursuit of importing the best assortments of European cheese to Hong Kong. Purchasing directly from the source, paying extra attention to curate from passionate artisans and family-owned labels, its entire range is affordable without sacrificing your taste buds or choices. Offering monthly pre-orders, discounted batch imports, and perks for special members, cheese lovers are in for a “grate” time!