As I got older, I slowly started to recognize and appreciate the sophistication of a charcuterie platter. Does anyone else feel the same way? I always thought it was just ‘meat and cheese’ but I have come to realize it is so much more than that. The effort and finesse that goes into making chauterie, as well as learning how to pair it with the right cheeses (and wine) is truly an art.
I’ve been trying to make charcuterie platters at home, and not until recently was I introduced to a wide cheese collection made by the dairy cooperative, Agropur. Agropur is the largest dairy cooperative in Canada, and when you purchase from one of their brands (which includes Natrel, OKA, and Iogo), you are helping to support the Canadian economy by giving back to the 3,290 dairy farmers that work passionately to deliver high quality dairy products to Canadians every day.
The first unique cheese I learned and tasted was the OKA cheese. The OKA cheese is semi-firm, rich in flavour, and is perfected in the cellars of the Fromagerie d’Oka. It has an amber coloured rind which holds its shape nicely if you’re looking to use it for raclette.
While I really enjoyed the pungent aroma of OKA, my boyfriend found the smell a bit overwhelming so just keep in mind this cheese may not be for everyone.
My interest immediately peeked when I saw this Agropur 1 year-old cheddar, claiming it is the “World’s best aged cheddar”. This cheddar won 1st place at the 2016 British Empire Cheese Show! After tasting it, I can tell you it is worthy of its name.
The firm texture and sharp aroma makes this ideal for melting as the flavour mellows out once melted. I tried it on baguette, crackers, tortilla chips, and this cheddar tastes magnificent with everything. Now I just wish all cheddar tasted like this!!!
The final two cheeses I am in absolute love with is the Agropur’s rindless Swiss cheese, and the Smoked Gouda. The light Swiss is a nice balance to the pungent flavours of the other two cheeses, while the smoked Gouda is just on a whole other level. Right when you open the package you can smell the flavour of the smoke and it just adds a whole new darker dimension to the cheese.
All of these cheeses paired nicely with my accompaniments which included smoked almonds, cucumber slices, white toasted baguette, lavender wild honey, turkey kielbasa sausage, mortadella sausage (not pictured), Dijon mustard (not pictured) and salami.
All in all I had a fantastic time trying out these four unique cheese that I normally would never have the chance to stumble upon, and I would highly recommend the Smoked Gouda as well as the 1 year Aged Cheddar if you want to give their products a try.
A big thanks to Agropur for sponsoring the cheeses as well as this post. All comments and opinions are my own.