The perfect hills cheese platter

The perfect hills cheese platter

The Adelaide Hills is a mecca for downright delicious local produce from strawberries, wine, chocolate to cheese.

As a local you’ll want to impress your city guests with a drop of red or white from just over the next range and a cheese platter that comes from cows that graze not far from your door.

Here are a few tips from local biodynamic dairy producer Ulli Spranz, of B.-d. Farm Paris Creek.

“There’s no better way to finish off a long lazy lunch on your new deck taking in the view, than with a Hills cheese platter,” Ulli said. “You can source the whole spectrum of cheeses locally – from soft to hard, mild to strong – to satisfy every palate.

“My ultimate soft cheese pick is the Paris Creek’s Nuage Blanc (White Cloud). As the name suggests, Nuage Blanc is pure indulgence. It starts fresh and firm but will develop a soft smooth interior as it matures – it’s fantastic with a Hills sparkling white.”

If you are a fan of soft cheeses Ulli also recommends the Paris Creek Gris Cendre.

“It’s a typical Double Brie style, with a slightly grey bloom and has been matured in a special natural vegetable ash to give it a richer flavour and full bodied aroma,” she said.

“As a special treat I like to drizzle both of these cheeses with a local organic honey.”

Cheddar’s sharpness and bite makes it a perfect accompaniment to local Hills reds such as Pinot Noir and Shiraz. Paris Creek Organic Cheddar has a warm, golden glow that develops over months and with its lightly salted self-aged rind, it has the characteristics of a typical younger English cheddar – crumbly, mellow on the tongue with a creamy, pleasantly tasty finish.

The Adelaide Hills has also developed an international reputation for its white wines – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and a new Austrian variety Gewurztraminer – and Ulli recommends subtly flavoured cheeses as an accompaniment.

“Paris Creek’s Norwegino is a semi-hard cheese that resembles an Emmental or Norwegian Jarlsberg,” she said. “It is creamy when young, then dries as it ages. It goes well with a smooth fruity white such as Sauvignon Blanc.”

Another good white wine match is the Swiss Mountain, a full flavoured hard style cheese that has the subtlety to accompany a full-bodied Chardonnay.

Paris Creek has also created three spiced Goudas which suit every palate with their medium to soft texture – the peppercorn, cumin and caraway or chilli Goudas are all very popular.

Like all good cheese-wrights, Ulli advises removing the cheese from the fridge an hour or two before serving to allow the flavours to develop and she encourages people to visit their local market or bakery to find those little complements that make a cheese platter memorable.

“I serve my cheese platter with a selection of fresh seasonal fruit, dried fruit and condiments such as quince paste or a tomato chutney,” she said.

“And there is nothing like a beautiful fresh crusty baguette from a local oven to make your guests fall in love with the Hills.”

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