François Robin (pictured) has revealed his ultimate guide to mastering all things cheese
A French cheese connoisseur has unveiled his ultimate guide to mastering all things cheese, from perfecting a platter to making the best wine pairings.
François Robin, a world-famous cheese merchant, said the perfect cheese platter should always start with the mildest cheese and end with the strongest.
‘This shows your guests the correct order in which the cheese should be eaten. You don’t want to overwhelm your taste buds first and not be able to try anything else, ”François told Daily Mail Australia.
“Whether you’re building a cheese platter for yourself or for a bunch of guests, make sure you choose a variety of cheeses so everyone has one of their favorites on the board and there is a good variety to choose from.
“Don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors that you may not have tried before. This is how you can find out more about the cheese pairings you love. ‘
The cheese connoisseur said the perfect cheese platter should always start with the mildest cheese and end with the strongest (archive image)
The ingredients you should ALWAYS have on your cheese platter
Bread and crackers, especially those that already have a certain taste, be it fruits like raisins and cranberries or sesame seeds
Fresh fruits like grapes and blueberries, Dried fruit like apricots as well as nuts and macadamias, as these complement the different flavors of the cheese
honey – This will change the taste of your blue cheese in particular
Salted butter – It’s a great extra on any cheese platter
Sausages and cucumbers
The Bon Fromage ambassador said the board should include a variety of cheeses based on the milk types, textures and intensities.
“The perfect cheese platter includes a range of cheeses made from different types of milk (cow, goat, sheep), textures (from creamy to hard) and intensities (from mild to intense),” he explained.
In addition to cheese, François said, the board should always be served with an array of spices, fruits, nuts, charcuterie, bread and gourmet crackers.
“Don’t listen to the French traditions telling you not to combine your cheese with anything, it’s an old fashioned way of reacting. Cheese is an accessible product that you can play with and adapt to your tastes and preferences, ”he explained.
“Bread and crackers, especially those that already have a certain taste, be it fruits like raisins and lingonberries or sesame.
“Don’t forget your spices – fresh fruits like grapes and blueberries, dried fruits like apricots, and nuts and macadamias are a must as they complement the different flavors of the cheese.
“Basically anything that encourages people to combine the cheese with other ingredients. This is where the magic happens. ‘
In addition to cheese, François said, the board should always be served with an array of spices, fruits, nuts, charcuterie, bread and gourmet crackers
The best cheese and wine pairings
1. Most white wines go well with cheese, especially if you prefer dry or sweet wines
2. Red wines go well with heavier cheeses, but avoid full bodied and oak red wines as the tannins add a metallic taste to your regular brie. Instead, try fruity red wines like Beaujolais or Pinot Noir with Tomme
3. Sparkling wines go well with double cream cheese and mild intensities such as Brillat-Savarin
4. Sweet wines go perfectly with salty cheeses like Blue
5. Camembert and Brie both go great with cider, which is also a local French game (these products generally come from the same region in France).
6. Epoisses and white wines such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon
François said honey is a great ingredient because it “changes the taste of your blue cheese in a special way” and he never forgets the salted butter.
“I like adding salted butter to everything (due to my French background), but it’s always welcome as an added extra,” he explained.
But there are a few ingredients that François always leaves off the cheese platter.
“Green apple, because it’s way too sour, just like kiwi, although it looks good on the platter. Citrus fruits like oranges and mandarins are also not recommended, ”he explained.
When creating a cheese board for entertainment, François suggested cutting cheese into small portion slices to show the guests the common size.
“You don’t want anyone to be left with the shell. If you can, have a knife per cheese so that each cheese preserves the flavor and doesn’t melt them together, ”he said.
François said honey is a great ingredient because it “changes the taste of your blue cheese in particular” and he never forgets the salted butter (archive image)
The best cheeses on a platter
Double cream Brie or Brillat-Savarin: They offer a sheer dash of slightly spicy cream and are great for highlighting black truffles
Comté: This cheese is the next big thing! It can live up to four years and tastes best between 18 and 24 months
A good goat cheese: To give your cheese experience a little variety and something more animal
Epoisses: This one is a decadent liquid cheese. When washed with a French alcohol (liqueur), it gives the perfect balance between intensity and milkiness
Fourme d’Ambert: This blue cheese, lesser known compared to Roquefort, is buttery with the final feel of being less salty. It’s great to pair with sweet ingredients like pear, jam, and gingerbread cookies
When serving the cheeses, the flavors are perfect at room temperature (18 ° C) and a little less perfect at 20 ° C, he said.
“It’s best to put your cheese out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (or less if it’s a warm day) before serving.”
He said there are common mistakes people make when creating a platter, like cutting the cheese into parallel slices instead of a triangle shape.
“This means that the first and last guests will only get the crust of the cheese if you cut the cheese into parallel slices,” he said.
Other mistakes include taking the cheese out of the fridge too long before eating and just putting a knife on the board.
“Once you’ve cut a blue cheese, for example, there will be some scraps on the blade and it’s really better to have other knives to cut properly,” he said.
François said you should avoid packing your cheese platter with too many ingredients.
“Not enough space between the cheeses means that you will have difficulty cutting the cheeses. Give them space, ”he said.
Considered one of the best cheese merchants in France, François is holding free masterclasses to entertain guests with cheese and drinks during the Bon Fromage Festival of European Cheese from November 27-29.
“I am thrilled to bring the world of French cheese back to Australia and share the rich cultural and culinary heritage that each cheese encompasses. Most of all, you’re helping the Aussies experience the simple pleasure of eating French cheese, ”he said.
Visit the Bon Fromage Festival website for more information.