It's true that a simple selection of New Zealand's finest cheeses is a perfectly adequate way to present your cheesebaord. Sometimes though it's nice to dial things up a bit by adding other exciting varities and mizing up they way you present them. Here are a few ideas to bring your cheese dishes to the next level.

Platter pairings

Pairing cheese alongside the perfect accompaniment is a foolproof path to success.

  • Try Kapiti ricotta drizzled in honey (infused with lavender, orange blossom or thyme if you like) then scattered with finely chopped herbs: rosemary, basil, oregano or try chives for a lovely savoury twist.
  • Slice Kapiti cumin seed gouda thinly and serve with equally thin slices of toasted dark rye bread.
  • Get the best ripe tomatoes money can buy (Curious Croppers grow a fantastic range). Drizzle in good olive oil and blast in a hot oven till they burst, then serve with Mainland Special Reserve Feta crumbled over.
  • Using ripe, New Zealand-grown grapes, follow the same cooking method then serve with honeycomb and Kapiti Awa Blue.

The Ever-Popular Ploughman’s

This classic English picnic on a plate is a real crowd pleaser and can be easily adjusted to suit tastes and dietary requirements. Start with really good bread - a selection of slices from a few different loaves is lovely. Nestle alongside the bread, a generous hunk of Kapiti Tuteremoana Cheddar, a second cheese as a contrast (try Kahurangi Blue or Havarti), charcuterie of some sort (thick ham is good but terrine or brawn is even better) and a pickle of some sort. Homemade pickled onions are a stroke of brilliance, but otherwise any chunky, dark chutney or relish will do. A few slices of apple is a nice traditional touch and add to that a few slices of radish for interest. Tip: include a pat of butter: everyone knows bread and cheese go best with butter in between.

Salad selections

  • When tomatoes are beautifully ripe and flavoursome and basil is plentiful, there’s only one thing for it: a classic Caprese salad, and keep it simple. Slice ripe heirloom tomatoes and arrange on a platter with basil leaves and buttons of creamy Kapiti bocconcini before drizzling with a good robust local olive oil and sprinkling with a little flaky sea salt and black pepper. Note: step away from the balsamic vinegar, and make sure the tomatoes are not cold, nor the bocconcini too cold either.
  • Crumble Mainland Special Reserve generously over salads adding thinly sliced red onion and freshly chopped mint leaves and dress the salad simply with olive oil and lemon juice.

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