Creating an inviting, impressive cheese board is easy and fun. Whether you’re hosting a party for 50 or dining alone, these basic tips will make choosing simple.
Variety: For variety, choose cheeses from neighboring farms, from different milk sources (cow, goat, sheep, water buffalo), or with a range of age and rind type (fresh, soft-ripened, hard, blue, etc). Try a beautiful Bellwether Farms selection: Carmody (young cow milk), Blackstone (sheep & cow mixed-milk with black peppercorns) or Pepato (aged sheep with black peppercorns) and San Andreas, (aged sheep milk). Ask your cheesemonger to help you choose and carefully label each cheese so you can identify the cheeses for your guests.
How much to serve: For appetizers, allow about 1 oz of each cheese per person. For a party where cheese is a main attraction, serve up to 4 ounces per person.
What to pair: Keep the pairings simple so that focus is on the cheese. Roasted nuts, salty olives and cured meats, sweet fruits, or pickled vegetables provide flavor and texture balance to the cheeses. Keep accompaniments to a few high-quality options so not to overwhelm the palate.
Wine and beverages: We like the saying “What grows together, goes together” and being located in California’s renowned wine country, we are fortunate to have strong relationships with top wineries and breweries. Surrounded by vineyards, it is important to us that we make cheeses that are wine friendly. If you prefer white or red, sweet or dry, or a crisp brew, these pairings with Bellwether Farms cheeses and bring out the best in both the cheese and beverage:
- Carmody: Sweet and fresh buttermilk flavors and a creamy texture pair well with barrel-fermented (un-oaked) Chardonnay, Sparkling Brut or Pale Ale
- Pepato: Big reds like Zinfandel tend to have notes of pepper making a lovely marriage with our Pepato. If you prefer a white wine, try it with a wine that has a little sweetness such as an off-dry Riesling or Rosé to contrast the spiciness.
- Blackstone: In this new cheese, sweet Jersey cow milk marries with tangy sheep milk, then ages in an ash-coated, herbed-dusted rind. Tart flavors and floral and black pepper notes pair beautifully with Pinot Noir and not-too-hoppy IPA’s.
- San Andreas: Nutty earthiness in this cheese breaks the rule that red wines don’t pair with cheese. We find it pairs beautifully with Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel and our favorite pairing, California Cabernet Sauvignon.