A simple, romantic Valentine's Day cheeseboard for you and your fellow cheese lover. Plus find a recipe for the most amazing pear chutney you will ever make.
I am going to be completely honest with you. I've been single on Valentine's Day most of my life. So by now you are probably wondering how I would even be qualified to talk to you about anything involving romance and Valentine's Day. That's okay. That's the first thing that would come to my mind, too. Here's the thing. Even though I've been single most on Valentine's Day, I've had many the Valentine's Day romance.
When I was younger, it was perfectly acceptable to talk to guy friends and acquaintances and ask him to let me cook dinner for him on Valentine's Day. And no single man, no matter his orientation, is going to turn down a free meal and a night in with me. (I had the complete collection of Scene It board games, plus a huge collection of old school board games and a huge collection of DVDs to tempt even the most wary of guys. Plus, let's be honest, I'm a hoot and a half to hang out with!) So even if I just met the guy, or we were strictly platonic friends, I would get dressed up and create a whole romantic menu for two including cocktails, appetizers, and desserts. I was never actually into Valentine's Day, but it was just really fun for me.
So from that, I do consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on how to impress a guy on a day like this. A part of every meal I would plan, I would also make a little cheeseboard for us. And that was always my favorite part because.... cheese.
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 blue cheese I actually 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! If you can, candied roses also make a wonderful romantic addition to your cheeseboard and pair surprisingly well with the havarti!
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.
And just so you know, Castello is hosting a very awesome sweepstakes you should check out!
- 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.
- ¼ oz candied rose petals
- 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.
Pear 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
- 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.