Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A perfect cheese platter

Another model way of presenting cheese from South Africa - this time a party platter served at the Creation winery in Hemel-en-Aarde

I love the way the meats - indigenous South African biltong and dried beef and salami are mixed in with the cheese to create colour and textural contrast and the way the cheeses are pre-cut - much more attractive than serving great slabs though you need to be careful not to do it too far ahead or they'll dry out.

There are a few olives and pickles in the middle - you could also add some grilled vegetables - if you like but remember any pickles, compotes or chutneys are likely to make wine pairing more tricky.

Incidentally there were a couple of really good matches here - a Hamilton Russell Chardonnay with the cheddar-style cheese just to the right of the dried beef and a couple of Syrah blends (Creation and Newton Johnson) with the Pecorino style cheese with peppers in the foreground.


Tim Pearson said...

Creations platters are very well presented and Carolyn's attention to detail and enthusiasm always means excellent value at this young winery. Her winemaker husband JC is making some glorious, fruit driven wines and the platters compliment the wines perfectly. I agree with Fiona when she says that pickles and chutneys make wine pairings more difficult, but these local cheeses are a perfect combination.

The Hemel en Aarde Valley is really coming alive with new wineries and restaurants and is really creating a vibrant buzz near the seaside town of Hermanus. It is this band of pioneering wine producers that Seven Springs Vineyard has joined (we are about 3 kilometers down the road from Creation) and we look forward to providing visitors with this type of excellence.

Tim Pearson
Seven Springs Vineyard

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Fiona!

My dad is back from NZ shortly and then we will be talking to him about the best cheeses we can find locally. His herd of Prize Ayrshire's are pastured about 45 minutes from Creation and he has it in mind to teach the farmer who looks after his cattle cheese making and help him set up his own cheese factory, this would be good since the issue for us here in SA is the milk quality through good dairy management and the pastures for grazing. Then we could tailor make the cheeses to fit the wines, will keep you posted.

In the meantime we will miss Eddie Bestbier who is moving back to OZ and look for some other good pairings. One of the critical factors with pairing cheese and wine is the balance of acidity and PH, which means that the ripeness of the cheese counts, with Eddie around the corner we could get this just right.

Dad will have to come out of retirement!)

Thanks again!

scandilicious said...

Looks like a beautiful cheese platter Fiona :)

Fiona Beckett said...

Thanks for all this feedback Tim and Carolyn. I was really impressed by the wines too but have written about them - and will do so at greater length - on my website www.matchingfoodandwine.com.

The frustrating thing about these trips is that you get a good overview but never have quite enough time to explore any of the regions so hope to remedy that on my next visit.

I'm sure South Africa will make world class cheeses, just as it makes world class wines. I was really blown away by the American cheeses I tasted in New York at the end of last year and see no reason why SA can't follow in their footsteps.

Tim Pearson said...

Fiona, We landed yesterday in Hermanus for two weeks here, and you are right, you can only get an overview of what is going on in 3 weeks. What must have impressed you, however, is the desire to produce wines, and other produce, of really high quality. It is the likes of Carolyn at Creation who help drive an industry upwards, by attention to detail and delivering a superb service. The overriding thing is the passion that goes with service and great produce. We will certainly look to 'go that extra mile' as our neighbours at Creation, and others in the area, are doing. From a gloriously sunny Western Cape, best wishes

Tim Pearson
Seven Springs Vineyard

katty said...

I must to say the cheese drives me crazy, I approach every time for eat cheese and I add in my recipes all the time. I read some days ago the cheese have many properties and vitamin. The most important thing is the potassium and calcium the cheese contain. I am sure that When i buying my house through costa rica homes for sale i will prepare a dinner for all my friends and I will add many cheese. That will be wonderful.