This post is sponsored by The French Ministry of Agriculture but all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. Thanks for reading!
Keep entertaining easy with a beautiful autumn fruit and cheese board. Ready in just minutes, pair a selection of cheeses with few of your favorite wines and get the party started!
Please drink responsibly.
You guys! I have been (impatiently) waiting to put together an autumn cheese board for the past 3 months. Maybe even more, I can’t remember. What I do remember, however, are the countless trips to the market and the neverending temptation to just buy all the cheese. Cheese and I got way back. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if cheese was my first real solid food, so cheese and me? We’re pretty tight.
Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty close with chocolate, too. and butter. and definitely wine. But I know that wine wasn’t my first food, so…well, whatever the case, it makes sense that I would love cheese boards so much.
Some of you may be wondering, “Um, where’s the meat?”
You are correct. There is no meat here. That would actually make this a Charcuterie Board. I debated about adding some flavorful cured or smoked meats, but in the end, I decided to stick with the cheese, carbs, wine and fruit. Oh, and chocolate. Let’s not (ever) forget that. But stay tuned, I may have a Charcuterie Board in the works for all you meat lovers out there.
So, let’s get started…
MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC – only given to a limited number of exceptional estates in the world, it has gained status as a “cult wine”. Mas de Daumas Gassac wine is cultivated without any chemicals or pesticides, a vineyard farmed with total respect for mother Nature to preserve its balance.
- MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC White (retail $39-45) – Four noble grape varieties dominate: Viognier (originated from the Rhone valley), Petit Manseng (originated from the Pyrenees), Chenin Blanc (originated from the Loire valley) and Chardonnay (Burgundy).
- MOULIN de GASSAC GUILHEM rosé (retail $10-12) – made from Syrah & Carignan grapes with no added sugar. Red fruit and berry aroma and flavors.
LES VIGNOBLES ANDRÉ LURTON – currently one of the largest wineries in the Bordeaux region, it is a family-run company of passionate wine-growers and wine-makers who are dedicated to producing exceptional wines from prestigious Bordeaux appellations.
- Château Bonnet Blanc 2015 (retail $12.99) – Available throughout the US, this white wine is a blend of Sauvignon blanc 55% / Sémillon 45%. This wine is fresh and fruity while also quite rich and full-bodied. It is very balanced and charming as an aperitif, or with salads and seafood dishes.
- Château Bonnet Rouge 2012 (retail $15.99) – Available throughout the US, this red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 50% / Merlot 50 %. Subtle and aromatic with attractive hints of blackcurrant, as well as other fruits such as black cherry and blueberry.
ISTARA P’TIT BASQUE (Retail price $20-$25/lb.) – available at Zabar’s, Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, Costco, etc. P’tit Basque is a 100% pure sheep’s milk cheese produced in France’s Basque region in the Pyrenees Mountains. P’tit Basque has a distinctive aroma of sheep’s milk, with a smooth, sweet flavor and a nutty finish. People enjoy it with black cherry jam, but it may also be enjoyed as an appetizer, a snack with fruit, with grilled vegetables and cured meats, or even in salads. This cheese can be perfectly paired with a classic red or white wine.
For the remaining cheese I went to my local market with a goal to pick up an additional 3-4 cheeses. The goal with a cheese board is to have something to suit everyone’s taste preference (especially if you don’t know what people prefer!)
I am not a cheese expert, however I do know that cheese may be classified based on texture, covering, ripening and cooking type. Of course, within each of those classifications, are further classifications like, hard, soft, semi-soft and fresh.
I’m not here to talk about all these different types today (although that would be a FUN post); instead i’ll tell you what I do when I shop for cheese.
I buy what looks good or sounds interesting. I will usually always buy one that I know I love and one that I have never tried before. I make sure to include a soft cheese and a hard cheese and anything else that tickles my fancy.
VALRHONA – The brand of choice for the world’s most demanding pastry professionals and chocolatiers, Valrhona is committed to the creation of unique quality chocolates with complex, balanced, unique and consistent tastes. Valrhona’s tradition of creativity, expertise in taste, and a strict adherence to traditional chocolate-making methods make it the standard bearer in the industry.
- Dulcey 32%, baking bar (retail $12.99) – During a pastry demonstration, Valrhona Corporate Pastry Chef Frédéric Bau accidentally left white chocolate in a bain-marie for too long. After realizing what happened, he noticed that the color had turned blond and the chocolate was emitting a delicate scent of freshly baked shortbread and caramelized milk. It took another 8 years of research and development to arrive at the DULCEY 32% we know today, and to perfect a unique recipe for a new world of creativity and flavors. While this is a baking bar, it is also delicious by itself. Dulcey is a 4th color of chocolate (after the White, Milk and Dark) with a smooth taste and creamy texture the is not too sweet.
- Orelys 35% 500g baking bag (retail $22.99) – New to the US! Five years after creating DULCEY 32%, Valrhona once again distinguishes itself in the Blond category by using its chocolate expertise with a new star ingredient: dark muscovado sugar. Because of its natural molasses content, muscovado sugar has a rich brown color and delicate licorice aromas. By adding muscovado sugar when we’re making ORELYS 35%, we give it a naturally bronze blond hue and earthy licorice notes.
ok, so you don’t need butter on your cheese board, but…
jk! You DEFINITELY need some butter on that cheese board. Just sayin’.
Président® Unsalted Butter Quarters (retail $5.50)- The #1 brand cheese and butter in France. It really is easy to see why as it is probably the smoothest butter I have ever tasted.
Other must-have fun additions to any cheese board are, of course, fruit and a cheese/butter vessel.
Ok guys, seriously, have fun with this. There are about a million different crackers out there, just pick a few different shapes, sizes and textures. I also like to get at least one or two that aren’t simply “plain”. For example garlic and herb or fig and rosemary. You can’t go wrong. For this cheese board I also added a big, seeded, crusty French baguette because I knew I would be serving up some Pumpkin Hummus.
Oh yeah, that’s pumpkin hummus. Very very autumnish, don’t you think? Don’t worry, the recipe is coming soon.
Picking fruit is always the easiest part.
Sadly, there were no persimmons in the market yet, otherwise those would have been there too. Orange slices are another great fruit.
- Cheese- 3-4 favorites such as Istara P'Tit Basque - parmesan, gouda, blue cheese, asiago, cheddar, brie
- Crackers and fresh bread
- Fruit- grapes - pears, apples, figs, pomegranates, oranges, etc.
- Chocolate - whatever tickles your fancy - but Dulcey 32%, baking bar and Orelys 35% 500g baking bag come highly recommended
- Butter- Président® Unsalted Butter Quarters << you want this one - seriously.
- Berry or fig jam
- Pumpkin hummus
- Gather all your ingredients and assemble on a large serving platter, cheese board or breadboard. Serve paired with your favorite wines.
- Enjoy and have fun!