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Here’s how to create a simple, romantic Valentine’s Day cheese board with a recipe for pear chutney, a delicious cheese accompaniment.
By Amanda Powell
Building a Valentine’s Day cheeseboard is fun to do, and really simple, especially if you stick to a brand like Castello Cheese who has a really great variety of cheeses for every palette. Ideally, you want to have a variety of cheeses that fall into different categories of soft, aged, hard, or blue. For a cheeseboard meant for two, I prefer to keep things lighter and choose two cheeses instead of trying to get all four.
I’ve never been a huge fan of blue cheese, but Castello’s blue cheese I actually really like. And it works here for a romantic cheeseboard because it has so much flavor that it brings the board to life. To balance out the strength of the blue cheese, I recommend a multigrain cracker and something sweet. I prefer a pear chutney. This pear chutney recipe is great because it is like a umami bomb. Sweet, a little spicy, a little acid… it’s perfect. Add a touch of thyme on your cracker and you have the perfect bite. If you make the pear chutney, you will need to plan ahead as it needs time to chill. I recommend making it the day before, but you can also make it in the morning and allow it to chill until ready to serve that evening.
I also like to add in fresh fruit, nuts, and a harder cheese – Havarti is my favorite because it hard, but so creamy- and another cheese that Castello does really well. I also add a bit of Italian salami if you crave a bit of meat, personally, I don’t need it. Just give me the cheese, chutney, and crackers in my Valentine’s Day cheeseboard and I am happy!
As for drinks to pair with the Valentine’s Day cheeseboard, white wine always wins my vote. I am more of a red wine person, but the crispness of the white wine pairs with the cheese so much better, in my opinion. I really fell in love with Folie a Deux white wine. It is smooth and refreshing and pairs really well with the blue cheese.
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For a sweet and savory cheese board component, try this carrot chutney recipe.
- 2 medium pears, cored and sliced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- ½ garlic clove, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
- 3 whole cloves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, washed and dried
- ½ pomelo (or other favorite citrus), peeled and sliced
- multigrain seeded crackers
- plain salted crackers
- Castello havarti cheese
- Castello blue cheese
- ½ oz pistachios
- ½ recipe pear chutney (recipe below)
- 2oz Italian salami, sliced.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat the pears in the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium-high and coat with the olive oil. Add the shallots and the garlic, then cook until fragrant. Add the ginger, red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, agave, and cloves and simmer, stirring occasionally while the pears cook.
- When pears are finished roasting, allow to cool slightly, and cut the slices into cubes. Remove and discard the cloves. Add to the skillet as well as salt and pepper. Fold the pears in well, then transfer the mixture to a container. Leave to cool down to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Arange all of the ingredients on a slab board, or marble board. Cut slices of the havarti cheese, and break up some of the blue cheese, leaving the rest on the board for easy access.
- Enjoy in different combinations with Folie a Deux wine.