Lizard asked me ages ago to write about the perfect cheese board which got me thinking. What does make a good cheese board? I’m not talking about a board that consists only of cheese that one enjoys at the end of a meal in a flash restaurant. I’m talking about what we call the “cheese board”. The one that people everywhere love to throw together at home when friends are over for a couple of drinks. The one that has a lot more than just cheese on it.
Every household should have a nice big timber board to use on this very occasion. Cork Daddy bought me a beautiful one from My Shed as a birthday present years ago. To this day it’s still one of my favourite things in our house. Mum always used to say that if there was a bushfire nearby and you had very little time to gather your possessions, she’d save the family photo albums first. These days most of our photos are stored on our family photo stream and we don’t actually have many pics printed out. I often joke that apart from getting the kids and the dog to safety of course, I’d have to grab my antique cheese board!
Now I think the perfect cheese board goes from ‘alright’ to ‘outstanding’ due to the things other than cheese that you pop on. I’m talking about everything bar the cheese itself, (with my favourites being Daphinoire, blue, a strong cheddar and of course Jarlsberg – my girls’ favourite).
Think things like baby cornichons (that my sister-in-law got me on to and which I am now obsessed), sopressa salami, and other cured meats such as prosciutto or shaved ham. Any type of olives – I love them all! Dips, big bunches of grapes, carrots sticks, truffle honey, hummus, strawberries, pears and don’t forget about the ol’ sun-dried tomato.
Knights Meats in Wagga have a terrific deli counter and I’ve recently discovered their balsamic onions which are lovely. They also make their own quince paste and dried crackers made out of the stale Artisan bakery bread. If you’re unsure of what you’ll like, ask the staff for a taste test. Any good delicatessen should help you with making your choice.
Image courtesy of the Knights Meats website.
And my favourite thing about a cheese board – the crackers to go with it. These days everyone seems to go nuts (pardon the pun) over the fancy Ob Finest crackers with gourmet flavour combos such as cashew and rosemary, goji berry and coconut, fig and pecan and my favourite – apricot and macadamia.
And don’t get me wrong, I love to go for the ‘up-ety’ crackers but you mustn’t ever forget to throw a box of trusty Jatz in your trolley too. A real crowd pleaser amongst littlies and oldies alike. In my opinion, a party isn’t a party without a box of Jatz.
But whether you prefer the flash biscuits or the humble cracker, I’ve got THE ultimate accompaniment to a cheese board for you. Something that is guaranteed to impress your guests and that everyone will love. Something so good that no matter how much you make, you’ll need more.
So introducing to you my ‘Grilled ciabatta bread’. Cooked until nicely charred, drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with some good Maldon salt, it’s divine. And use a little chef-y trick of rubbing a whole garlic clove over the top of the bread once hot. This does wonders for the flavour and is nicer than any garlic bread I’ve had.
Then load it up with whatever tickles your fancy and dig in. Enlist someones help by asking them to grill the bread on the barbie while you’re pouring the drinks too. It’s nice having something hot on the board and it just goes to show that it’s often the simplest things that are the best.
So there you go Liz. Now that we’ve got our shopping list sorted, when are we catching up for a wine?
grilled ciabatta | the perfect accompaniment to a cheese board
1 x loaf of ciabatta bread, cut in to slices
A good drizzle of olive oil
A good seasoning of Maldon salt
1 x garlic clove, peeled and kept whole
You will need a hot griddle pan or barbecue for this recipe.
- Simply add some olive oil to a grill plate, add the bread slices and drizzle some olive oil over the top. Grill them until you see some nice charred marks on one side, before turning over.
- Sprinkle with the salt and more olive oil and remove from the pan.
- Rub both sides of the grilled bread with the garlic clove and serve hot.
If you make this grilled ciabatta, please leave your comments below. And let me know what I’ve missed. What’s your favourite thing about a cheese board? xx