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Building the Ultimate Cheese Plate on a Budget

Truth be told, cheese rarely comes cheap!

There are reasons for that. 

Cheese, for most styles, is very labour intensive. 

From milk collection to shape, texture and aroma definitions, it takes time until it is ready to hit your plate!

Plus, it is quite something to know how to create a cheese;  it is yet something else to know how to keep it alive and explore its full capacities in sometimes what can take over a year. 

Have you also thought about the amount of milk that is needed to create your favourite swiss style cheeses? If I tell you that a wheel of Comté (French people’s favourite cheese) weighs around 40kg, how many litres of milk do you think the cheesemaker needs?

If you answered 40 litres, you are far from the mark… 80 litres? You are still not there!!

It takes at least 400 litres of milk to make a wheel of Comté - 35 cows with 2 milking sessions!

I often think that’s enough to stop anyone whingeing about the price of cheese…

Now, we are not saying that it is impossible to create a cheese platter without a bank loan… since we believe that a good cheese platter is more about quality than quantity.

So ‘less is more’ couldn't be more appropriate if you are thinking of creating something good and interesting for your next gathering.

Another tip we are happy to share with you is that when you see some ‘special’ prices on some fabulous cheeses, grab it! Our cheesemongers are all knowledgeable and dedicated to make sure you still have quality in your hand. It is only that dates had to be added by law. But it is not telling you that you can't eat it past it… at Smelly Cheese Co. we often believe a cheese has a Best After rather than a Best Before!

Sometimes, it is only the fact that we ordered too many cheeses and would rather see it in a good home rather than in the bin 3 weeks down the track!

Let’s practice together.

As I write this blog, we have a few very good special from France:

  • Delice de St Cyr (triple cream)
  • Mons Camembert (white mould)
  • Mothais sur Feuille (goat’s milk)
  • Langres (washed-rind)

Ask for a little sample if you are not sure or fear too many funky characteristics!

As for the general budget platter, here is what I would recommend:

  • A wedge of Brie de Normandie for earthy, mushroom and savoury notes
  • Crottin de chèvre or Bûche de Chèvre from France or Woodside Goat’s curd for clean acidity and citrus notes
  • Heidi Tilsit, Murray Bridge Cheddar or Mezcla Curado for nutty, fruity and complex notes
  • Gorgonzola Dolce for sweet and spicy blue notes
  • Quince paste for sweet contrast
  • Cheese Culture crackers (yes, we have gluten free too!)

In minimal quantities, this cheese platter could be around the $50 mark.

My advice at all times is: develop a good relationship with your cheesemonger; be curious, creative and open to exploring what you don't know yet!

And above all… HAVE FUN!

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