Not sure what to feature on your Cheese Board this Holiday Season? Start with a pair of your favourite Canadian Cheeses and add festive fruits, nuts and preserves for a Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Cheese Board. Happy entertaining!
This post contains sponsored content. I was fortunate enough to receive monetary compensation and/or products from Dairy Farmers of Canada. Although compensated for my efforts, all opinions are my own.
With December comes a close to many things. It’s the end of the calendar year, end of school semesters and end of the Autumn season. It also just so happens to be the end of my monthly feature of Canadian Cheeses in partnership with Dairy Farmers of Canada. Sigh. Instead of pouting, I decided to celebrate this amazing opportunity that was provided to me with a festive and fun blog post and the request to my amazing readers to please choose Canadian for all your cheese needs. You see, Canadian dairy farmers and cheesemakers strive to put the best product on the shelves for consumers and I am so proud to have helped spread their message through various recipes, photos and TV appearances over the last nine months. Let’s continue the message beyond this campaign by sharing delicious Canadian Cheeses and recipes with friends and family, shall we?
Canadian farmers are a passionate, talented and dedicated bunch. Canadian cheese is high-quality and boasts tradition and creativity. This is apparent in the two cheesew that I am featuring this month: Baluchon from Fromagerie Baluchon in Quebec, and Boerenkaas from Natural Pastures on Vancouver Island, BC. Both cheeses are similar in style as they are both white, semi-soft cheeses. However, they are unique (yet complement each other so well!) From my tasting, I found the Baluchon, an organic artisanal cheese, had a mushroomy near umami taste while Boerenkaas, which translates from Dutch to “Farmers Cheese,” was lighter and creamier on the tongue with the slightest hint of smoke. The two cheeses balanced each other out very nicely and provide a great snapshot to the amazing landscape of Canadian Cheese.
To showcase these cheeses I felt cooking them would be a shame. When you are working with top-quality products such as these, you let the ingredients speak for themselves! I decided to make a Holiday Cheeseboard with the Baluchon and Boerenkaas as the stars of the board. I also filmed a quick overhead video of how to assemble this Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Cheese Board. Check-it out on YouTube and let me know what you think.
Rules for Curating a Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Cheese Board
- Choose Canadian Cheeses that complement each other – When putting together a thematic cheeseboard, make sure the Canadian Cheeses you pair together complement each other. This will allow you to carefully curate the rest of the cheese board. A great start is to feature cheeses of the same variety such as Aged, Semi-Soft cheese like in this Crowd Pleasing Holiday Cheese Board.
- Be creative! – Let the creative cheese made by Canadians inspire you! Push the boundaries a little and make your own rules. That is what entertaining is all about. I chose to have a Holiday theme. To keep my vision, I paired my Canadian Cheese with seasonal favourites such as Mandarin Oranges and Pistachios.
- Know your audience – Have an understanding, if possible, about the likes and diets of your guests. I chose to curate a vegetarian cheese board since many of my guests choose not to eat meat and I wanted the board to be accessible to all my guests! On a similar vein, I wouldn’t have added nuts if any of my friends were allergic.
- Separate accordingly – The worst thing about a cheeseboard is when the crackers get moist and mushy or an oil seeps into the fruit. Yuck. Don’t be afraid to use little bowls or containers on your cheeseboard to ensure you are separating the food appropriately. I chose to put my pomegranate seeds, eggplant and olives in little bowls to ensure no seepage.
- Balance your flavours and use your Canadian Cheese as the anchor – Because your Canadian Cheese is always going to be the star of your cheese board, make sure you pair and contrast flavours based on your cheese. However, you want to make sure your flavours are balanced and not too many of one type (not all sweet, not all salty). For this board, I knew I had to add tangy Granny Smith Apples to complement the Boerenkaas and spicy eggplant to pair with the Baluchon cheese. I then built out the board with seasonal festive fruits and traditional options like olives to vary the tastes and textures on the board.
- Use budget friendly fillers – Raisins and plain crackers may be a tad lackluster on their own, but when paired with delicious Canadian Cheese these classic foods are a welcome addition to any cheeseboard! Don’t think you have to pair your cheese with expensive and unattainable treats just because you are entertaining.
- Play with colour As much as cheese boards are fun to eat from they are fun to look at (and take pictures of!). When curating a thematic cheese board, make sure you play with colour so that the board isn’t all browns and yellows. I chose to fill empty spaces with bright red cranberries and used seasonal pomegranates and mandarin oranges to my advantage to make a visually appealing spread. #FoodPics, anyone?
Holiday Cheese Board
- 1 piece Boerenkaas Cheese
- 1 piece Baluchon Cheese
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate
- ¼ cup Eggplant in Oil pickled
- ¼ cup Olives
- ½ box Sesame breadsticks
- ¼ box Whole wheat crackers
- 2 Granny Smith apples sliced
- 3 Mandarin oranges peeled and segmented
- ¼ cup Raisins
- ½ cup Pistachio nuts
- Cranberries for decoration
- Start by setting your Canadian Cheese on the chosen surface for your cheese board. Choose a spot near the middle, where the cheese can be surrounded by other board items.
- Spoon your pomegranate, eggplant and olives into separate bowls, to avoid the sauces seeping into other board items. Place bowls around cheese, avoiding placing them on the immediate edge.
- Add crackers and larger fruits to the larger empty areas of the board. Fill the smaller areas with smaller items such as raisins and nuts.
- Finish with cranberries for a festive kick. Serve cheese board with spoons, cheese knife and toothpicks. Enjoy the party!
Want to see this recipe in action? Head-on over to my YouTube account and see me create this board in a matter of seconds!