SE7EN'S A BANQUET, 9INE'S A BRAWL.

Cheese Plate Featuring all Nova Scotian Cheeses & Charcuterie (Summer Time)

Posted On July 7th, 2012 Author Lia Rinaldo

So, let's get on with this post, shall we? I was able to slip away for the July 1st long weekend with a group of friends and made it my mission to put together a completely Nova Scotian cheese and charcuterie spread. This is significant, much like our growing & award-winning wine region, it's taken time, but god damn it–we're SO there! It was fun to source out what I needed locally through some of my favourite spots–Highland Drive Storehouse Butchery, Local Source Market, Charcuterie Ratinaud, Pete's Frootique, Fox Hill Cheese House at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market  and some fresh frozen from a recent trip to the Canning Village Meat Market.

When putting together a cheese plate, there are a few classic adages. I emphasize adages and not rules. There are books and books and miles of reading you can do, but honestly, all cheese has its place and purpose (except for ones with fruit in them, WTF?). So, often I just do whatever I like with whatever I happen to have and you should certainly do the same.
But for this purpose, the perfect Nova Scotian cheese plate–I went with one blue, one semi-soft, one hard and one semi-hard, I also ensured that there was at least one goat and one cow in the mix. And so I give you, Dragon's Breath Blue Cheese from That Dutchman's Farm in Upper Economy, Creme Chevre (I used the peppercorn, but they are all good!) from Ran-Cher Acres in Aylesford, Smoked Gouda from Fox Hill Cheese House in Port Williams and another winner from That Dutchman's Farm, called the Old Growler. And there you have it, cheese perfection. Local and now. One of the great thrills of presenting a spread like this is walking people through the selections and declaring at the end–This is all from here! It goes over extremely well.

Now, what sort of accompaniments would work with this kind of thing? You may be a tad confused by my photos this week, let me explain myself a bit. I started out by showing you what I set up for a larger crowd at the cottage, kind of in the moment... this included a fantastic selection of meat, fruit & bread. We had grilled and sliced sausages from Highland Drive Storehouse and the Canning Village Meat Market. Then I added in a selection from one of my favourite meat makers–Frederic from Ratinaud–beef bresaola, duck prosciutto, smoked salmon and a thick slice of his Ratinaud pâté that has pork, port & pistachios. To. Die. For. Then throw in some not-so-local fruit, red seedless grapes and gooseberries. Crackers and a thick sliced french baguette from Boulangerie La Vendéenne. Done. Remember, that's for a crowd. The irony was, my inner Italian momma always overfeeds and we had enough to set up another round once back from the weekend, which you will see in the rest of the photos. The simpler and slightly more restrained approach, if you will.

If I was serving this at home, I would forgo the bread and would sub in a seeded or even a gluten-free cracker. We started to buy some alternatives for friends who requested them and have been kind of addicted to them ever since. I also love olives (especially dry-cured ones) and hot pepperocini peppers as accompaniments. You will also see a lot of cheese plates use honey, chutney or nuts as well. It all works.

For wine? At the cottage on a warm sunny afternoon, we drank one of my faves–a chilled Nova 7 from Benjamin Bridge in Wolfville. Back at home, well, a glass of the wine du jour, the not-so-local, Don David Malbec.

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