THE CHEESE WIRE - CHEESE FOR CHRISTMAS

Instead of the usual suspects on your cheeseboard this summer here are some excellent artisan cheese to seek out along with a few hints to ensure they survive the rigours of a hot, holiday season.

THE PERFECT CHEESEBOARD

Cheese is the perfect fast food for friends, family or unforeseen guests.  Just wheel it out with fresh or dried fruit, a few nuts and granny’s chutney.  Defrost some bread and voila you have lunch, supper or snacks.  Just choose at least 3 of the 7 types and it will be amazing. 

 
cheesewire_cheeseboard_christmas.jpg

4 - Semi Soft Cheese Cont’d
Pink & White Terraces
Origin Earth
Washed in brine & white wine it has a pink rind dusted with white. Taste of marmite, umami and salty butter
From their shop or Hastings Market

5 - Hard Cheese
Hohepa Vintage Danbo
Hohepa
Every bite explodes in the mouth releasing a myriad of flavours
From grilled cheese, marmite, cocoa to pineapple
From their shop, Black Barn Market or Hastings Farmers Market
Sleeping Giant [Ewe] 
Origin Earth
Fabulous cheese with sweet caramel notes from the ewes’ milk
Smooth, rich and complex – expensive but worth it!
From their shop or Hastings Market

6 - Blue Cheese
Blue Rhapsody 450gm
Cartwheel Creamery
A small drum it’s the perfect gift or cheeseboard hero
Beneath the thin grey crust, the texture is smooth & the blue streaks have a spicy tang
Another good reason to visit the Black Barn Market
Hohepa Blue 1.2 kg
Hohepa Cheese
Stand aside Stilton – this is my choice this Christmas
The shafts of crunchy blue through the buttery interior have a spicy, metallic bite with dark chocolate notes
From – see Hard Cheese for details
Thorvald Blue [Ewe] 1.3 kg
Thorvald Nelson
Firm, dense, buttery and very mellow with hints of spice and caramel.  Keeps well doesn’t crumble.
From Nelson markets or direct

7 - Flavour Added Cheese
Hohepa Flavoured Cheese
Hohepa
I usually prefer my cheese plain but if you MUST have a flavoured cheese try one from Hohepa.  The cumin or Herb & Garlic are particularly moreish.
From – see Hard Cheese for details

1 - Fresh Cheese
Marinated Buffalo 320gm 
Clevedon Valley Buffalo
Creamy, mild, fresh and the buffalo milk gives it a lovely earthy, new leather notes
Keeps for months if covered by the oil
Serve as snack, spread, in salads on crackers etc
From Clevedon Market or most NW
Tussock Creek Feta 150gm
Blue River
NZ’s most delicious and authentic sheep’s’ milk feta. It has a very long shelf life so is perfect for creating lunch for unexpected invasions
Most NW stock it

2 - Aged Fresh Cheese
No-Name 80gm
Sentry Hill
Beautiful, round, wrinkly rinded, ewes’ milk cheese
Creamy, smooth, nutty with hint of roast lamb
Serve on cheese platter, grill, bake … just as is
At Black Barn Market [Dec – Feb]

3 - Soft White Cheese
Camembert Style  250gm
Origin Earth
Buy it as close to the best buy date as possible
These ripen quicker than their more stable [boring] cousins
Mushroomy, creamy with hints of beef stock
From their shop or Hastings Market
Full Moon 180 gm
Nieuwenhuis Goat
Thin, white crust and delicate, irresistible, creamy, nutty interior that tastes of almonds, vanilla and mushrooms
From Hastings Farmers Market

4 - Semi-Soft Cheese
Epitome 160gm
Cartwheel Creamery
Tastes like your best-ever cheese sauce with a hint of yeast or marmite
Comes vacuum packed in perfect cheeseboard sizes
Black Barn Market & Palmerston North area
Harvest Moon 150 gm
Nieuwenhuis Goat
Washed in beer it has a sticky orange rind, smooth creamy texture and salty savoury tang that hints of hops and yeast
Hastings Farmers Market

Things to know about Cheese

Cheese like wine is the fruit of the soil
What the animals eat will affect the flavour & the texture
Any cheese can be made with any milk from cow to camel 
The texture will be similar, but the taste will be influenced by the unique character of the animal

Classic characteristics
Cow:

Buttery, sweet, fruity, green grass, raw onion
Goat:
Aromatic, herbaceous, almonds, marzipan
Ewe:
Slightly oily, brazil nuts, sweet like caramel
Buffalo:
Earthy leathery
Camel & Yak:
Earthy, feral, gamey, wild

Ordering & Buying

Most of these you can buy locally in Hawke’s Bay, from the makers or their local Farmers Market
Hastings Market, Black Barn Market, Nelson Market or Clevedon Market 

Storing

Keep them in their original wrapping if you can otherwise wrap them in wax or greaseproof paper and store in a sealed box in the fridge.

Gladwrap is not the kiss of death for hard cheese as people would have you believe but it doesn’t allow softer cheeses to breathe

Beeswax cloth is very on trend and smells wonderful – it certainly works and makes a great gift
All cheeses have moulds, yeasts and delicious bacteria growing in them or on them.  So, when you cut a cheese or take it out of its packet and expose it to air they start to grow and spread – this is good not bad

The thicker or fatter the chunk or slices of cheese the better and longer it will survive

FAWCDayOut_WomanListeningSmilingAtTable.jpg

Cutting not Hacking

Treat cheese like a cake – you wouldn’t chop the “nose” off a wedge of cake so don’t do it to cheese!  And if it’s a big wedge lie it on its side then slice off thin wedges or triangles, so the cheese stays the same shape!

The real secret however is never give the philistines a knife – in seconds they turn your cheeseboard into a massacre faster than you can say “hack a turkey”! 

So, cut a few slices of each before you serve them.  It won’t stop a determined hacker but the last laugh is on them - the “best” bit is near the rind, not the middle!

Provide a knife for each cheese or they will all end up tastings the same

Why you should eat more cheese

It contains calcium that we all need to build bones – its just concentrated milk – so don’t avoid it eat it.  AND it isn’t as fattening as you think

Just remember
- the softer the cheese the lower the fat content
- the harder the cheese the higher the fat
- BUT hard cheeses are less than 35%!

Large_block_cheese_image.jpg

FINDING YOUR NEAREST NZ CHEESEMAKER OR CHEESE SHOP

We’ve made it easy by simply clicking on the link to the map of New Zealand Artisan Cheesemakers & cheese shops.


GIFT IDEAS FOR CHRISTMAS

For The Cheese Lover in Your Life!

Solve a difficult Christmas present dilemma, give them cheese and my World Cheese Book $35 [RRP $55] – it describes over 750 cheeses! 
Buy online using the code 12-18

Or give them a gift voucher for a Cheese Masterclass for $55pp.  Available through the website.

Happy Holidays

Have a great Christmas & New Year and please drop me an email if you have any cheesy questions or dilemmas