Champion Cheddar Pairings: Ploughman’s Cheeseboard

Sue Riedl has been writing about cheese for The Globe and Mail for 8 years. Trained as a chef, she also writes a weekly recipe column for Globe Life called the Quick Fix and has hosted over 100 of their “Chef Basics” videos.

When I think about Cheddar, I think about tradition. “Cheddaring” is a unique term that refers to the process of stacking slabs of cheese curd during production to drain, which creates a characteristically layered, sometimes flaky interior. Cheddars can showcase a cheese maker’s refinement, personality and hard work; they can be earthy and sweet or deliver creamy, sharp flavour. Pair your Cheddars with classic “ploughman’s lunch” staples and see why some combinations never go out of fashion.

Pickles

Pickles are always a given when I serve cheese, but, to add variety, also pick up some pickled asparagus, mushrooms or roasted red peppers. Serve in Mason jars that are easily refillable to showcase these colourful vegetables.

Eggs

Devilled eggs make a beautiful addition to your cheeseboard – even a small batch can be customized with a variety of herbs (tarragon is a favourite of mine), hot sauce in the yolk or topped with crunchy, fried capers. 

Pretzels

Instead of the usual bread and crackers, serve soft, chewy pretzels. They’re hard to resist and fun for sharing – the perfect conversation starter. Add a small bowl of Dijon, honey or spicy English mustard to the table for dipping.

Charcuterie

If I had to pick a perfect partner for my Cheddar, it might just be a pepperette. Portable and no fuss, you can find great options locally without spending a lot. Small pieces of beef jerky, sweeter than your pepperette, provide variety and a taste of the unexpected.  

Dark ale

A medium-bodied brown ale, with its caramel and coffee notes and slight bitterness, will make a nice partner across this Cheddar board. 

2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Champion Cheddars

COWS CREAMERY Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar
This Cheddar ages for 14 months in carefully monitored temperature and humidity conditions. Reminiscent of fresh potatoes, with a grassy sweetness and tangy finish, it is firm in texture and has rich, full-bodied flavour.
Learn more about this cheese

L’Ancêtre Organic Mild Cheddar & Organic Medium Cheddar
These cheeses are of the highest quality and have a natural, old-fashioned taste. In keeping with the traditional farming methods of their ancestors, L’Ancêtre makes these delicious Cheddars from thermalized organic milk.
Learn more about L’Ancêtre Organic Mild Cheddar (aged 2 months)
Learn more about L’Ancêtre Organic Medium Cheddar (aged 6 months)

St-Albert Cheese Cheddar 5 Years Aged
The crumbly and rich texture, sharp and fully-mature Cheddar taste develops from five years of natural aging. This cheese offers a complex spectrum of flavours — salt, nutty and slightly fruity.
Learn more about this cheese

The Farm House Natural Cheeses Traditional Clothbound Cheddar (9 to 12 months)
Using the traditional clothbound method and handmade using the cheddaring process. After pressing, the cloth gets rubbed in lard to protect the cheese, which also creates earthy and complex flavours, with a balance of sharpness and floral notes.
Learn more about this cheese

Explore other Canadian Cheddar options for your ploughman’s cheeseboard over at the Canadian Cheese Repertoire.

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