Gettin' Down and Cheesy This Holiday Season
Oh yes, it's that time of year again where my life consists of holiday parties, christmas cookies and beautiful drool-worthy cheeseboards. I'm pretty happy about it.
My peeps know that curating and building a cheeseboard is something that I take very seriously. From the initial cheese shopping to the perfect art of prosciutto placement, I'm kind of the big cheese (well, at least I think so). This holiday season, I extended my cheese hunt to the cutest shop in Owen Sound, The Milk Maid Fine Cheese + Gourmet Food. I sat down with owner Cody Hawes, who recently took over the business, and talked about all things cheese, beer, and what it's like to live in Grey County. She's a peach!
Cody is a twenty-something, goal driven, vibrant business owner who has a ton of cool plans for the shop in the new year. With 2018 in sight, you can expect extended hours, more local cider + brews, and a go-to spot for you and your friends to enjoy a wicked charcuterie board. I'm in! The space is super cozy with a big wooden communal table and acts as a comfortable gathering spot amongst the shops in the downtown core.
Cool fact: You can order a cheeseboard with hand picked cheeses from a specific region. They also offer lattes, specialty drinks, baked goods and some of the best scones in town!
Thanks to Cody, the two of us picked out some perfect cheeses for my holiday cheeseboard. What goes into the making of a crowd-pleasing board? It's easier than you think. And because cheese goes nicely with wine + beer, Cody has provided some local pairings that would suit each variety. It's a win-win.
1. The Cheese - You'll want to have a variety of different textures + colours on your board. Hands down, I always have a creamy brie, paired with a a couple of other firm or crumbly varieties. Find my current cheese selection below.
- Rosemary Asiago - one of my all-time favourite cheeses. Subtle flavours and the perfect additions. Pairs nicely with a pinot grigio.
- Blue d'Elizabeth - This semi-soft cheese is aged 60 days and with a hint of hazelnuts, adds a subtle blue to your selection. Pairs nicely with Georgian Hills Ida Red - Frozen to the Core.
- Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar - This cheese is produced by Mariposa Dairy in Lindsay, Ontario using milk from Lenburg Farms. Pairs splendidly well with coffee, honey or a pint of the Luck + Charm Oatmeal Stout by Macleans Ales.
- Le 1608 - Made in Quebec with milk from 100% Canadian bred cows, this cheese has a dark yellow crust and a creamy, tender center. Your typical hard cheese, but a perfect addition to your presentation. Pairs nicely with a Black Bellows White Beer.
- Cranberry Wensleydale - A fresh firm cheese, with a creamy sweet centre filled with bits of cranberry. Reminds you of Boursin but a tad more elevated. Pairs nicely with a glass of Hidden Bench 2013 Pinot Noir, from Beamsville, Niagara.
- Chateau de Bourgogne - Hands down the creamiest brie out there. Love adding a round of this to my cheeseboard as it's easily spreadable and a crowd favourite. Pairs beautifully with a glass of Back to the Dead Red from Coffin Ridge.
2. The Meat - I like to fill my board with a combination of different meats and cheeses. My go-to's are definitely prosciutto, and salami but any smoked, or dry-cured meats would pair nicely with your selection of cheeses.
3. The Additions - You can't go wrong with your accompaniments. Everyone has a different palate and will find a way to build the most delicious bite. Less is not more when it comes to your cheeseboard. Get messy!
- Nuts: Add a crunch to the board you create. I love spicy pecans, smoked almonds or raw walnuts.
- Fruit: Both dried and fresh fruit are a great addition to the board. Grapes, apples, and pears are my go-to's.
- Crackers or Bread: This acts as a canvas for your cheese mountain. Water crackers, and fresh baguette to Triscuits and breadsticks will add a variety of textural choices for your guests.
- Jams, Chutneys + Condiments: The zing every bite needs! Pictured above is Cottage Country Black Currant Jam and Donald's Honey.
And, ta-da! There you have my ideal cheeseboard with all the fixings. Easy, huh!? If you're looking to serve your guests an elegant, beautiful and vibrant cheeseboard, head on into Owen Sound and visit the Milk Maid. The staff are super knowledgable and they truly go above and beyond to make sure you leave with exactly what you need. If you're not feeling creative, they can whip up custom boards too!
The Milk Maid...making cheesy dreams come true.