The other day I went out for lunch and had cheese and wine. I often do this instead of having a ‘real’ meal and I’m lucky that London has some excellent places just for that!
One of my favourite places at the moment is 1707 at Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly. It has a wonderful array of International cheeses to try and a fantastic selection of wines by the glass to sample them with. They are limited with their choices of chutneys and extras to eat with it, which got me thinking. Why aren’t there more choice for chutneys and pickles to go alongside the sweet and salty cheeses? When you visit farmer’s markets and to a lesser extent even supermarkets, there is enough choice to suit every palate.
For years now I have been serving cheese after dinner when I have guests over, and often just have cheese and wine nights, and I serve chutneys with flavours from across the globe as this is what I have in my store cupboard. Coming from an Indian background I grew up with pickles and chutneys, they were part of our everyday meal. They taste awesome and go great with cheese. Some are too tart for wine, but with cheese they are a match made in heaven.
Now I am not a cheese connoisseur, just a cheese lover, and so my chutney choices may not get the nod of approval from some, but I think they taste great.
Depending on the size of your cheese board you may want to have anything from as little as 3 cheese choices up to 10 plus. So many options – soft, hard, goat’s, sheep’s, cow’s milk, rolled in ash, black pepper or even covered in rind. The list goes on…
I like to make sure I always have the well loved caramelised onion chutney, fig paste or roll, and then I really experiment with the others. Mango Chutney, always a sweet one, tastes wonderful with a sharp cheddar, Brinjal Pickle with a Camembert and although it seems strange, Sweet Tamarind Chutney with a melting Epoisses (a delicious cow’s milk naturally melty cheese from Burgundy). Paired with some fantastic wines of your favourite varieties and vineyards and you couldn’t have a nicer evening.
There are lots of great choices so have a root through your store cupboard and see what you have. You’ll be surprised what goes with what. Cheese and chutney, could there be a better combo?!