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WORDS: SARAH MARJORIBANKS IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK

We’re lucky to have incredible cheese producers in South Africa, and even luckier to have a cheese shop in Joburg that showcases them. We asked Cheese Gourmet’s Jo Dick to share her expertise with us on how to put together the perfect cheese board.

“Usually we suggest five cheeses,” says Jo. “Generally, a soft rind cheese like a brie or Camembert, a blue cheese, and a mild cheese for all tastes, like a Havarti from Klein River. Then, we recommend a stronger, more unusual cheese like a Boland, which is a washed rind cheese – or you could replace this with a goat’s cheese for variety – and then a strong mature cheese like a great Healey’s mature cheddar.”

“It really depends on the customer,” she says. “We find certain clients like the stronger, smellier cheeses which aren’t for everyone. If it’s a bigger group of people, or cheese is the main protein of the meal, a flavoured cheese is a fun addition – cumin Gouda is particularly popular.”

Then, she suggests adding figs or something sweet to the board, especially if it’s served instead of dessert. “It’s a great way to combine the two courses – you can even add a bit of chocolate and nougat and make it totally extravagant!”

If you’re serving at the end of the meal, Jo suggests crackers instead of bread, which is a bit heavy and dries out. Then, add the final touches, “Decorate with grapes, strawberries and dried mango strips for effect. You can also add lots of fresh herbs that last, such as rosemary and thyme, which make the platter look fresh and inviting.”

Lastly, pour yourself a glass of full-bodied pinotage or chenin blanc, and enjoy!

Filo-encased Camembert

If you can’t get enough cheese, in any form, Jo recommends this beautiful sweet and spicy, warm and melty Camembert-filled filo parcel. And now that we’re just a day away from being able to buy wine again, she suggests a dry white wine like a sauvignon blanc to accompany it.

Ingredients

  • 4 sheets filo pastry, cut into 16cm squares
  • melted butter, to brush
  • 1 x 65g Camembert
  • 2 teaspoons lemon curd
  • 1 large fresh or preserved fig, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon flaked almonds
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • mascarpone, to serve

Here’s how

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

2. Brush each square of filo pastry with the melted butter. Stack the buttered squares one on top of the other. Place the Camembert in the middle of the pastry stack. Top with the lemon curd, sliced fig and half the nuts. Sprinkle with the ground nutmeg and ginger.

3. Bring the corners of the filo pastry stack towards the centre of the cheese, twisting the ends together to keep them in place. Transfer to the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle with the remaining crushed nuts.

4. Bake in the preheated oven until the pastry is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to rest, about 10 minutes.

5. Serve the filo-encased Camembert warm, with mascarpone alongside.

FATHER’S DAY HAMPERS

After the success of their Mother’s Day hampers, Cheese Gourmet is offering a Father’s Day hamper. The hamper starts at R350, but can be upscaled to medium or large, and includes these delicious treats:

  • Salami
  • Pork pies
  • Pickled onions
  • Homemade “Branston-style” pickle
  • 3 cheeses
  • Bread
  • Rex Union marmalade
  • Pack of koeksisters

Add for medium (R520):

  • Steak pie for two
  • Soup
  • Jam

Add for large (R700):

  • Olives
  • Lemon cookies
  • Braai spice

EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF

Cheese Gourmet
Linden
011 883 5384
sacheese@gmail.com