How do you put together the perfect Irish cheese board? Here are our tips for the best Irish cheeses to pair with Guinness Extra Stout for a winning combination.
Few snacks are as decadent or satisfying as a cheese board. Whether as an appetizer shared among friends, the perfect picnic treat, or an easy indulgent meal, the perfect cheese and beverage pairing can be a symphony of deliciousness.
With so many wonderful Irish cheeses, it's easy to construct a cheese board with an Irish theme, and with its bittersweet taste, Guinness Extra Stout is an ideal accompaniment.
Here are our top tips for the ultimate Irish cheese board:
The number one rule for putting together a cheese board is variety - you want to make sure there's a range of flavors, textures, and colors. Aim for one hard cheese, such as an Irish cheddar; a strong cheese such an Irish blue; a semi-soft cheese like a Farmhouse Cheese such as Gubbeen; and a soft cheese such as an Irish goat cheese.
It's important to have some non-dairy items on the board to offer a palate cleanser between cheeses. Fresh fruits such as apple slices, strawberries, and grapes are a nice touch; for dried fruits go with figs, cranberries, apricots, raisins, or dates. A selection of nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts adds a nice contrast in texture, but avoid anything overly salted or flavored. To keep the Irish theme going, include some slices of Irish brown bread, cream crackers, or oat crackers.
To drink, Guinness Extra Stout makes an exceptional pairing. Its slightly bittersweet taste offers a delicious counterpoint to the creaminess of the cheeses and enhances their nutty notes.
Take your cheeses out of the refrigerator about one hour before serving so that they can reach room temperature. Cut relatively small slices of cheese, with the points angeled out for ease of access, with fruit and nuts dispersed in between. The bread and crackers can also go on the cheese board, or in a basket on the side if there isn't enough room. Include at least two knives, one for the hard cheeses and one for the soft cheeses.
Finally, enjoy! There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to cheese eating, so feel free to make it up as you go.
Check out the video below for more Guinness food pairing tips: