This dish is kind of like an alternative cheese plate, a cross between cheese tapas, and cheese and crackers. As it’s summer, there is a huge array of delicious ripe fruit out there, so I decided to pair (pear!) them with some of my favourite summer cheese. This cheese plate looks so impressive, but only takes minutes to make and works great as canapés with a glass of sparkling wine or champagne. The cool thing about this dish is that you can mix and match as you like. I sliced up some fruit, a selection of herbs, and some cheese. Then I just tasted and figured out what worked well together.
We got a really great wedding gift of a cheese making course in Knockdrinna, Co Kilkenny, so I am championing all things cheese at the moment. Helen Finnegan founded Knockdrinna cheese in 2004 and her passion for cheese is infectious. She is constantly innovating and experimenting in Knockdrinna and her cheese has won many accolades over the years.
In a small back kitchen, over a huge pot of fresh milk, Helen regaled us with stories about a blue cheese incident, the curse of the damp weather, and the general running of a small cheese business. We learned about the processes of making a soft cheese and a chedder and the various ways that different cheese is made around the world.
We then enjoyed a delicious chessey lunch in the cafe followed by a short tour of the farm with her very happy pigs (fed with whey), some humongous turkeys, a few hens and a beautiful little orchard.
So here’s the list of the cheese’s I used for the cheese plate, and how I constructed the whole thing.
- Knockdrinna Greek Cheese (a type of Feta)
- Knockdrinna Meadow – a delicious sheep’s cheese
- Knockdrinna Fresh Goat Log
- Blue D’auvergne
- Blue Shropshire
I know there are some amazing Irish blue cheeses out there, but I had none to hand when I was making this. Next time I will use Bellingham Blue, Wicklow Blue or Cashel).
- Cherries, pitted and halved
- Peaches, stones, halved and sliced finely
- Strawberries, sliced finely
- Figs, sliced into small chunks
- Pears, sliced and chopped
- Half a baguette, sliced into small discs
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
Brush the discs of baguette with olive oil. Place under a heated grill, until golden brown – this should take about 5 minutes or less. Chop the fruit into small pieces. Slice the herbs into thin strips and cut the cheese into small bite size pieces. Now, it really is just a case of assembling them altogether. I paired the Knockdrinna meadow with cherries and a single chive. The peach is paired with soft goat cheese and basil –it tastes summery and divine. The pears work really well with the crumbly Shropshire and the figs are delicious with the creamy Bleu d’auvergne. My favourite is the strawberries with Feta and mint. I added a little black pepper to these. It really is up to you, what cheese and fruit you use. This plate serves as a great little Summer snack.
This review of Knockdrinna is not sponsored. If you are travelling on the M9 between Kilkenny and Waterford, Knockdrinna is well worth a stop off. The farm has a little shop where you can buy all of Helen’s cheese, home-made pesto, her own bacon and a whole array of other local produce.