Traditionally, serving cheese after dinner provided an opportunity for leisurely conversation without having to worry about the food cooling. Because of its richness, cheese is best enjoyed after the other (more delicate) courses and is a match made in digestion heaven with after-dinner drinks like port and dessert wines.
Riaan Mol, front of house, sommelier and fromagier (the cheese room has been dubbed his ‘office’) at Jordan says that a cheese course after dinner is great for those who don’t like sweet desserts. He recommends teaming soft cheeses like brie or a creamy but sharp goat’s cheese with green figs and a glass of fruity noble late harvest, or matching heavier yellow cheeses with subtle quince jam or fruit preserve. Quince jam also pairs well with a pungent cheese like La Beryl and a glass of tawny port.
The perfect cheese board should feature a handful of different cheeses with a range of textures and strengths, served at room temperature; plenty of crackers or crusty bread; and a selection of sweet and salty accompaniments such as roasted nuts, preserves or fresh fruit. Here’s where to find the best cheese boards across the country.
Choose from a selection of 140 cheeses and add biscuits, breads and melba toast with melon preserve, figs and chutney. The price is set according to the cheeses and the serving size – generally R250 for ten people for dessert.
Possum’s Bistro and Deli
The cheese platter is offered as a full meal with brie or camembert, blue cheese, fontina cheese, olives, homemade hummus (if available), a selection of biscuits, a side salad, and fruits such as figs or nectarines at R120. On the dessert menu, the cheese platter comes with a selection of cheeses and sweet biscuits.
The cheese board features a selection of local and international cheeses, preserved figs, ginger, nuts and savoury biscuits. It serves eight people at R450.
Tasha’s (Melrose Arch)
The cheese platter is served with goat’s cheese, emmenthal, feta, brie, parmesan, grapes, fig preserve and melba toast at R78.
Brasserie de Paris
The cheese platter includes three cheeses – local and imported – in varying textures and strengths. They are served with home-made bread, which is toasted, preserves and fresh fruit. R65 for one person; R118 for two.
Order the cheese board for R85 and enjoy roquefort, munster and French brie with gooseberry compote, red wine onions, celery, saffron-poached pears and grapes (in season) and a selection of water biscuits and oat crackers.
The cheese course allows patrons to choose from a selection of European and South Africa cheeses from the trolley, served with Aggy’s dried pear and macadamia nut bread. Price depends on cheeses and courses.
Tin Roof Café
The cheese platter named ‘The End’ consists of French brie, gorgonzola dolce latte, mature fontina, luxury melba toast and cranberries and nuts from R45 to R55.
Chef Jackie Cameron showcases local cheeses in the cheese course of the set menu (R350 per person) every night at the hotel. There could be some of Chrissie's beetroot and sage cheddar, La Petite France camembert or Swissland goat's cheese, along with fresh fruit and melba toast made from home-made bread, or cheese form the main component of a dish.
Skye Bistro at Fordoun Hotel
Order the cheese platter for tastings of local cheeses and preserves with biscuits. R50 on the lunch menu and R40 on the dinner menu.
The cheese board comes with three or four local cheeses, rye walnut and dry apricot crackers, honey jelly, pickles and grape jam at R65.
Select from a variety of cheeses and cold meats such as prosciutto, chorizo and biltong. Each portion, served with gherkins and nuts, is then weighed and charged accordingly.
Order three (R60), five (R80) or seven (R120) cheeses for the platter, which comes with gooseberry jam and bread. Select from 3-month old cheddar, gruyere, camembert or brie, amongst others.
Harveys at the Mansions
The South African cheese platter for two comes with brie, camembert, cranberry blue rock and mature cheddar cheeses with pecan nuts and Cape fig preserve. It’s served with biscuits at R75.
Jackal and Hide
Order an assortment of cheeses with a selection of breads at R85.
The cheese platter features blue cheese, mature cheddar, brie, biscuits, pickles, grape relish and apricot syrup relish at R88.
Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson
The cheese tray is served with a glass of South African port and a selection of home-made preserves, breads and crackers at R90 (serves five).
The cheese platter comes with a selection of cheeses and preserves on the four-course menu.
The cheese platter is served as part of the lunch buffet menu as well as the dinner menu. For lunch, there is a selection of cheeses, breads and marmalade as well as crackers available. On the dinner menu, the platter is made up from these ingredients and priced at R120.
The local cheese board comes with a smoked chevre rolled in a vegetable ash, mature cheddar, Dalewood brie, sourdough melba toast, figs and pickles at R48.
Simon’s at Groot Constantia
The cheese board comes with a selection of local cheeses, fig preserve, bread and pretzels for R65. Order the cheese board and a glass of port for R75.
The cheese platter comes with a variety of local cheeses, apricot compote, apple relish and fruit loaf at R135.
Bread and Wine
The cheese board features three local cheeses: Cremelat gorgonzola; Dalewood Huguenot; and La Petite France camembert, served with turnip chutney and sesame seed balls at R60.
Delheim Garden Restaurant
The cheese platter is comprised of six local cheeses, olives, home-made fruit preserve, fresh fruit, crackers and homemade bread at R135.
Delaire Graff Estate Restaurant
The cheese platter consists of gorgonzola, brie and fitzburg, served with rhubarb chutney and toasted focaccia at R95.?
The Eatery On the small cheese platter you will find smoked Italiana, gorgonzola and smoked goat’s cheese at R65.
The Goatshed Restaurant
Choose from a variety of 20 cheeses. For one person, choose eight cheeses and for two, choose ten. The platter comes with a homemade preserve and freshly baked bread. R62 for platter for one and R68 for platter for two.
Have a three-course meal (R275) and order cheese as the option for the final course, or order a cheese board for the table – after a tour of the cheese room – at R120 per platter of six cheeses. The cheeses are served with crostini made from Jordan’s ciabatta and home-made pickles, preserves and jams.
The Kitchen at Maison
The cheese plate is on the tapas menu and comes with Huguenot cheese, grape preserve and biscuits at R45.
Pierneef a La Motte
The cheese and bread platter comes with a selection of cheeses, bread, pumpkin tart and vegetable pickle at R150.
Rust en Vrede Restaurant
Order a French cheese platter with five or six cheeses, homemade grape chutney made with grapes from their vines; walnut and raisin bread; oat biscuits and sesame biscuits at R60. The assortment includes cheeses with different strengths and textures, from mild and creamy to strong and hard cheese, as well as one goat’s cheese and one blue cheese.
The Stone Kitchen
Their local cheese platter features local goat’s chevre, cumin boerenkaas, brie and gorgonzola served with biscuits, nuts, pinotage jam and green fig preserve at R45.
By Kelly Pluke and Linda Scarborough