Style and Serve the Ultimate Cheese Board with These Top Tips

style-and-serve-the-ultimate-cheese-board-with-these-top-tips-2

To celebrate National Cheese Day on Jun 4th 2020, researchers from recipe box company Gousto have revealed the most popular cheeses we’ve been choosing during lockdown. 

The Nation’s Favourite Cheese, Revealed

According to Google Trends, searches for Cheese and Wine Night have tripled (+203%) during lockdown, but what cheeses have we been including in our virtual cheese and wine nights on Zoom? 

  • Red Leicester – +164% (more searches during lockdown)
  • Goats Cheese +158%
  • Cheddar +97%
  • Camembert +80%
  • Brie +72%
  • Blue Cheese +30%
  • Mozzarella +19%
  • Parmesan +17%
  • Stilton -28%
  • Wensleydale -33%

Has lockdown changed our cheese-based preferences?

A 2017 study by Branston Pickle crowned Cheddar as the UK’s favourite, but during lockdown we’re favoring Red Leicester and Goats Cheese. I teamed up with senior recipe developer Jordan Moore to reveal our tips for assembling the ultimate cheese board, perfect for National Cheese Day this week:

Jordan says that the perfect cheese board should be based on your own tastes and preferences, but there are a few ‘rules’ you can follow to ensure you have enough variety texture on the board: 

  • A hard cheese: Try a strong crumbly Cheddar or for something different, try Gruyere
  • A soft and semi-soft cheese: Brie and Camembert are popular choices for the soft-cheese section, and Port Salut is a great all-rounder for the semi-soft section.
  • A blue cheese: Stilton is the most traditional option, but if you want something a bit lighter for the summer months, take a look at Gorgonzola too. 
  • A flavour-added cheese: Wensleydale with cranberries or apricots is a nice addition to a summer cheese board, or for something more punchy, why not try a black pepper or garlic flavoured goats cheese? 

The board itself should be the backdrop to your delicious selection of cheese! Most people have a wooden or glass chopping board in their kitchen which is a great way to display your cheese and accompaniments. If you have a marble or slate board, then these are perfect for keeping your cheese cool, as well as being a beautiful canvas to show off the cheese.

Jordan added that accompaniments such as crackers should be kept as plain as possible, letting the natural flavours of the cheese shine through. “There are so many different flavours of crackers to choose from nowadays, it can be difficult to know what to pick up. My general rule is to keep the crackers as plain as possible, so try an oatcake or a cream cracker to serve alongside. 

Fruit can be both beautiful and delicious on a cheese board. Grapes, strawberries, apples and figs are perfect cheese board additions – just be sure to give the apples a spritz of lemon or lime before serving to avoid them going brown on the board.   

When it comes to portion size, Jordan says: “Cheese boards are all about indulgence, but if you’re unsure about how much cheese to display, allow between 30-50g cheese per person. 30g is about the size of a matchbox so you can eyeball it easily, but don’t worry if you have leftovers! Simply wrap them in wax paper and refrigerate until you’re ready to use them again. One of my favourite ways to use up leftover cheese is to chop it all up and use it to create the most decadent mac and cheese!”

Got some leftover cheese? Why not try one of Gousto’s recipes to help you use up those odds and ends from the cheese board: 

Three Easy Cheesy Recipes for Cheese Board Leftovers

Millennial Magazine - Ultimate-Mac-&-Cheese
Photo courtesy of Gousto

Jordan’s Ultimate Mac ‘N’ Cheese

(perfect for cheese board leftovers) 

This ultimate mac and cheese recipe is made up with a creamy cheese sauce, a touch of garlic and wholegrain mustard – you can use up your leftover cheese board to make this cheesy delight! You’ll top with crispy bacon, breadcrumbs, and serve with balsamic dressed leaves and roast baby plum tomatoes. Enjoy! 

Ingredients: 

200g Conchiglie

1 Garlic Clove

2 Tbsp Wholegrain Mustard

1 Mozzarella Ball (125g)

135g British Dry Cured Smoked Streaky Bacon

40g Cheddar Cheese

40g Italian Hard Cheese

30g Panko Breadcrumbs

50g Baby Leaf Salad

125g Baby Plum Tomatoes

15ml Balsamic Vinegar 

Method: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C (fan)/ 350°F/ Gas 4
  2. Boil a kettle
  3. Add the baby plum tomatoes to a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and sugar
  4. Put them in the oven to slow-roast until serving (approx. 30 min)
  5. Meanwhile, add the conchiglie to a pot of boiled water with a large pinch of salt and bring to the boil over a high heat
  6. Cook the conchiglie for 8-10 min or until cooked with a slight bite
  7. Once done, drain the conchiglie, reserving 300ml of the starchy pasta water
  8. Meanwhile, cut the streaky bacon into small, bite-size pieces
  9. Heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) over a high heat and once hot, add 2/3 of the chopped bacon (save the rest for later!)
  10. Cook for 3-4 min or until crisped, then transfer to kitchen paper and set aside (keep the pan!)
  11. Meanwhile, peel the garlic
  12. Grate the Italian hard cheese
  13. Grate the cheddar 
  14. Drain, pat dry and rip the mozzarella into small, bite-size pieces
  15. Return the pan to a medium heat and once hot, add 30g butter
  16. Once melted, add 30g flour and stir with a wooden spoon for 1-2 min or until a sandy paste forms – this is your roux
  17. Gradually whisk 350ml milk into the roux and cook for 5 min or until a smooth, thick sauce remains – this is your béchamel sauce 
  18. Meanwhile, grate the garlic into the béchamel sauce and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper 
  19. Once thickened, add the Italian hard cheese, cheddar, wholegrain mustard, crispy bacon and drained conchigle with a few splashes of starchy pasta water to loosen the mixture Tip: you want your sauce to be quite loose as it will continue to thicken in the oven!
  20. Remove the slow roasted tomatoes from the oven and set them aside until serving
  21. Increase the oven temperature to 240°C/ 220°C (fan)/ 475°F/ Gas 9
  22. Transfer the cheesy pasta to an oven-proof dish, then top with the ripped mozzarella, panko breadcrumbs and the remaining chopped bacon, drizzle with olive oil and put the dish in the oven for 20-25 min or until it’s golden
  23. Meanwhile, combine the balsamic vinegar with 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper – this is your balsamic dressing
  24. Gently toss the baby leaf mixed salad with the slow roasted tomatoes and drizzle with the balsamic dressing when you’re ready to serve. Enjoy! 
Millennial Magazine - Easy-tripple-cheese-pizza
Photo courtesy of Gousto

Easy Triple Cheese Pizza 

Forget takeaways – you can’t beat a classic homemade pizza. This triple cheese pizza is super-quick to make and the whole family will love it! Made with three different types of cheeses, this Italian dish is veggie pizza perfection (you can use up your cheese board leftovers too!)

Ingredients:

1 Shallot

30g Pumpkin Seeds 

1 Mozzarella Ball (125g)

40g Cheddar Cheese

50g Baby Leaf Salad

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

15ml Balsamic Vinegar 

Flame-Baked Pizza Bases

32g Tomato Paste 

35g Italian Hard Cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 240°C/ 220°C (fan)/ 475°F/ Gas 9 
  2. Put a large baking tray in the oven to heat up (this will stop the pizza bottoms from going soggy!)
  3. Peel and finely chop (or grate) the garlic
  4. Grate the cheddar and Italian hard cheese 
  5. Drain the mozzarella and pat it dry with kitchen paper 
  6. Tear the drained mozzarella into rough bite-sized pieces
  7. Add the chopped garlic, dried oregano and tomato paste to a small bowl with a generous drizzle of olive oil and 2 tbsp cold water
  8. Season with a pinch of salt, sugar and pepper and mix to combine – this is your tomato sauce
  9. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the shallot as finely as you can
  10. Add the chopped shallot, balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp sugar to a large mixing bowl
  11. Season generously with both salt and pepper and mix to combine – this is your balsamic dressing
  12. Wash and dry the baby leaf salad
  13. Once the pizzas are nearly done, add the salad and pine nut and seed mix to the bowl with the balsamic dressing and give everything a good mix up – this is your seedy balsamic salad
  14. Serve the triple cheese pizzas with the seedy balsamic salad to the side. Enjoy! 
Millennial Magazine - Alpine-Cheesy-Bacon-&-Potato-Gratin
Photo courtesy of Gousto

Alpine Cheesy Bacon & Potato Gratin 

Use up your leftover cheese board in this creamy cheese dish – a perfect comfort recipe for the whole family to enjoy! A mix of bacon, potato and topped with a rich cheese sauce, finished with a side of peppery rocket salad. 

Ingredients: 

1 Brown Onion

1 Tomato

1 Garlic Clove

40g Cheddar Cheese

50g Rocket

90g British Dry Cured Smoked Streaky Bacon

15ml Balsamic Vinegar

15ml Chinese Rice Wine

1 White Potato

1 Pot Of Double Cream (100ml)

Method: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C (fan)/ 395°F/ Gas 6
  2. Slice the potatoes (skins on) into discs
  3. Add the potato discs to a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and sprinkle them with cold water (this will help the potatoes cook through!)
  4. Put the tray in the oven for 15-20 min or until softened
  5. While the potatoes are cooking, peel and finely dice the brown onion
  6. Peel and finely chop (or grate) the garlic
  7. Chop the smoked streaky bacon roughly
  8. Heat a large, dry, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) over a medium-high heat
  9. Once hot, add the chopped bacon and diced onion and cook for 4-5 min, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp
  10. Once crisp, add the chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 min further or until fragrant
  11. Meanwhile, grate the cheddar cheese
  12. Once fragrant, add the Chinese rice wine to the pan and cook for 30 secs
  13. Add 1 tsp flour and give it all a good mix up
  14. Gradually add 150ml milk, a little at a time, and stir everything together until the sauce begins to thicken slightly
  15. Stir through the double cream and most of the grated cheddar cheese (save some for later!) and give it all a good mix up until the cheese has melted
  16. Season with a generous grind of black pepper – this is your cheesy bacon sauce
  17. Add half the potato discs to an oven-proof dish in a single layer
  18. Pour over half the cheesy bacon sauce
  19. Repeat this process until you have a final layer of sauce and top with any leftover potato discs
  20. Sprinkle over the reserved cheese and put the dish in the oven for 15-20 min or until bubbling and golden – this is your cheesy bacon & potato gratin
  21. While the gratin is in the oven, finely dice the tomato
  22. Add the diced tomato to a bowl with the rocket, balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper
  23. Give everything a good mix up – this is your rocket salad
  24. Serve the cheesy bacon & potato gratin with the rocket salad to the side
  25. Season with a generous grind of black pepper. Enjoy!

UK’s Favourite Lockdown Cheese Data Methodology

Starting off with a seed list of the UK’s 10 favourite cheeses, we used Google Trends to analyze the increase or decrease in search interest between 1st April and 31st May. 

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Britt Hysen

Britt Hysen

Britt Hysen is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of MiLLENNiAL. In response to the branded ad campaigns absorbed by the media platform, Britt launched Kreativ Ctrl, a full-service marketing agency specializing in experiential programming and strategic partnerships.

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