Cheese Cheese and Wine Cheeseboard Goat's Cheese Hard Cheese Soft Cheese
The best cheeses to bring to a dinner party
By Claragh Nugent
Mar 2, 2022
Some divine cheeses with some admirable accompaniments truly are one of life’s most delicious and satisfying culinary delights.. at least, we here at cheesegeek certainly think so. A cheeseboard is an absolute essential at any stylish dinner party, but people can often be left baffled as to what cheeses to bring... Sure, you could play it safe and stick to a usual supermarket suspect - a cheddar, a brie, or a stilton, but why not really blow away the host with a little something special, recommended by yours truly at cheesegeek..
This cheeky cheshire isn’t like your regular hard cheese, in fact, this anomaly is the one and only traditionally made, clothbound Cheshire made in the UK today.. Although somewhat of a rarity, this artisan cheese can be savoured by just about everyone. The Friesian cow’s in Shropshire graze on grass with various salts and minerals below, which subtly contributes to the flavour of the cheese. With a moist texture followed by a slight crumble, and a light orange colour due to the annatto addition, this Cheshire is a great little number.
This blue cheese is really something special. All the way from over the pond in Co Tipperary, Ireland, this characteristic charmer is flavoursome without being too strong or too smelly... Probably for the best at a dinner party soiree (let’s be honest, nobody wants to be playing a blame game on where sharp smells are coming from). Aged between 20-24 weeks before being sent out, subtly salty and wonderfully creamy, this beaut adds to every gathering without being afraid to show off. As it matures, its white colouring turns increasingly buttery yellow. The marble-like pattern is a dead giveaway that this Blue has complexity yet simplicity that can be enjoyed by all. Note: Grind with the rind, the surface mould is untreated so therefore totally edible, and rather saltier than the inner paste, for some extra oomph.
The proof is in the pudding with the name of this bad boy. Bring this to any get-together and flex with a little cheese history knowledge. From the heart of Gouda territory in the Netherlands, this premium aged cheese is made from pasteurised cow’s milk. Gouda has been around since at least 1184, making it one of the oldest cheeses in the world, that is still produced today. It's firm texture, rich colour, and smooth flavour truly makes Old Amsterdam a Gouda conqueror. Having won European Gold Medals, this fabulous cheese lets for a mellow flavour, with hints of caramel and marmite on the palate. To really add to the whole situation, it has an incredible crunch adding to the salted caramel vibe.
Made by Whitelake Cheese Company, this really is one of cheesegeeks go-to’s. We know goat’s cheese can be hit and miss for some people, and we have to bear in mind, you want to keep everyone happy at a shindig, but this sweetheart isn’t like some of the other stronger goats cheeses. With a semi-firm, springy texture, and a buttery yet nutty flavour, that is more so milky as opposed to intensely creamy, it is an interesting change to a typical goat’s cheese. As it matures, it is regularly washed in a salty brine solution, giving it occasional orangey/yellow spots, but still having a subtle/soft fragrant. She’s sweet, she’s curvy, she’s a little bit mad, but all in all, loved by many.
Baron Bigod is the Brie of cloud 9, or so we like to think. It is the only traditional raw milk Brie-de-Meaux style cheese produced in the UK, that has a beautiful balance between rich butter notes and smooth earthy mushroom flavours. Beneath the rind is a smooth, silky breakdown that often oozes out over a fresh and somewhat citrussy center. It isn’t sharp or salty like other Brie’s, so its flavours need to be appreciated and not overpowered, which can very easily be done. Hand-made in small batches with warm milk straight from the cows early in the morning, the mould cultures are added, gently gravity feed into small vats, meters away from the milking parlour, where the rennet is added. This genuine small cottage industry may only produce in small batches, but the delicate procedure has resulted in this long-lasting farmy/mushroomy flavoured cheese, that results in a unique expression of the amazing milk of the free-ranging Montbeliarde cows.
Whether or not you decide to bring an entire cheeseboard, or just some individually wrapped cheeses, an extra treat is bringing some accompaniments. We recommend a rambunctious red onion and port marmalade, or some award-winning crackers, however, if you’re really treating the party, wine is never going to go a miss. Harder cheeses tend to pair with tannic red wines or full-bodied whites. Think Cabernet Sauvignons or sweet Rieslings. Soft cheeses are often matched with crisp whites such as Chardonnays or Pinot Grigio, but in general, with a good mix of champion cheeses and wonderful wines, you’ll find a balanced match somewhere and somehow.