The key here, I think, is to use a nice sharp cheddar. In this way, instead of blanketing and muffling the broccoli and apple, the cheese sauce adds a layer of contrast. There’s simply nothing like a good mature cheddar, the crumble and smoothness, the pungent nutiness with a faint tang of grass. It’s good stuff, and it does the other members of the gratin nothing but favors.
Broccoli Cheddar and Apple Gratin (serves 4-6)
First of all, you should chose a variety of different types of cheese. A well-balanced cheeseboard has one of each of the following categories: fresh, soft, semi-soft, hard, and blue. There are many examples of each type of cheese, but here are a few basics to get you started:
Fresh: feta, ricotta, mozzarella, mascarpone
Soft: brie, camembert, capricorn goat
Semi-soft: edam, havarti, taleggio, gouda
Hard: manchego, emmental, grana padano parmesan, aged cheddar
Blue: stilton, roquefort, gorgonzola, cambozola
Once you have decided on the cheeses you would like to serve, your next decision is the accompaniments. Here are a few examples of delicious things you can pair your cheeses with:
Fresh fruits: blackberries, strawberries, grapes, green apples, figs (if they are in season)
Dried fruits and nuts: apricots, cranberries, figs, various mixed nuts
Spreads: chutney, jam, mustard, olive oil & balsamic vinegar
And of course plenty of crackers and crusty french baguette.
(You can also add some cured meats to the plate as well, such as prosciutto and capicollo)
Next, take time to arrange the cheeses in a pleasing way and serve them on your favorite wooden platter or slate board. If you don't have either of those, you could also use a wood or plastic cutting board. Also, don't forget to include a knife or two for guests to help themselves.
*Tip: Take the cheeses out of the refrigerator an hour before you serve them so that they become room temperature. By doing this you are maximizing the flavor potential of the cheeses.*
Images sourced online
We were lucky enough to be featured in Cheese Matters - Here it is!
Gibbston Valley Cheese was established in 2002, nestled in the ‘Valley of the Vines’ in the Southern Mountains of the South Island. Cheese was made on site until 2006, until the prohibitive costs of transporting the raw milk products into the vine - locked area became too expensive to continue. A contract cheesemaker was sought to continue making the award-winning Gibbston Valley Cheeses, to their specifications, recipes and style. In 2007 the business was purchased by present owners, Kevin and Bess Paul, a husband and wife team who continued on with the journey of the cafe/retail shop in Gibbston. Kevin and Bess have a rural background so a life of cheese was a natural path way for them. When time permits, they like to be hands on and help with the cheese making, and creating new ideas to add to their product lines of cow, sheep and goat cheese. The staff also appreciates visiting the factory to see and be part of the cheese making process. The excitement of seeing that batch of mature cheese come through to the point of sale at the shop and being enjoyed by visiting cheese enthusiasts is one to behold! Gibbston Valley Cheese is neighboured by Queenstown, the small but mighty town that is commercially and residentially rapidly expanding due to its beauty and title of the adventure capital of the world. The modest cheese cafe/ retail shop is in a prime position for those wanting a day's activity featuring a cheese platter and wine in the vines, and a cycle river ride. The location is advantageous for showcasing New Zealand specialty cheeses, by offering a free tasting, so customers get to savour cheeses they wouldn’t normally choose. Many overseas tourists just want to try New Zealand cheese. Often while travelling around New Zealand they are offered imported cheese in hotels and restaurants. Gibbston Valleys mission is to showcase and offer a unique cheese experience to visitors from near and far.
As more people become aware of the effects of too much sugar, serving cheese as an alternative to the traditional wedding cake is an easy, tasty and stylish alternative.
We can decorate the cake or provide bare cheese wheels so your caterer or florist can keep the theme of the wedding.
If you love brie or other soft cheeses, they can be used for lower layers. With a few clever tricks (like using an inverted egg cup for support!), a soft cheese will keep its shape.
As always, it's best to serve your cheese at room temperature, which actually makes a cheese cake easier than a traditional sweet cake that often needs to be kept chilled. Make sure the cheese is kept out of the fridge a couple of hours – not too long though – you don’t want the Brie running down the aisle!
Be sure to order your cheese well in advance so we can ensure the cheese will be perfectly ripe on the Big Day.