The Big Foody's Tips on matching Cheese and Wine

Posted by on October 24, 2017

The Big Foody Food Tours Tips on matching Cheese with Wine


There are actually no strict rules in what wine goes best with which cheese, to be honest, it all depends on an individual's personal likes and dislikes, so don’t worry too much about what you are serving up!


The goal however is to create harmony and balance between the flavours of the wine and cheese and not to overpower one or the other.


If you don’t know where to start, follow Elle Armon-Jones from The Big Foody’s Food Tours  general guidelines below;


Harder mature cheeses such as Cheddar, Manchego, Gruyere, Red Leicester are cheeses best to accompany white wines with some depth of flavour and real body. It’s not often an easy match, but a lightly oaked chardonnay or a viognier are often good matched. Personally I like a nutty cheese with a drier older gewurztraminer. And don’t forget about the fortifieds! Dry sherries or slightly chilled tawny ports are often the best match to these styles of cheese.


Fresh goat's cheese’s team up beautifully with a Sauvignon Blanc or Dry Riesling. The crispness of the wines goes well with the mild and somewhat acid, lemony flavour profiles and creamy texture of fresh goats cheese.


Full flavoured cheeses such as ‘The Cheese with No Name’, ‘Pink and White terraces’, and other creamy washed rind cheeses go best with full-bodied wines such as Merlots and Syrahs. Whereas the cheeses that tend to stick to your mouth such as a brie or camembert compliment lighter reds such as pinot noir and the fruity gamay noir which doesn’t have the same tannin structure.


I won’t be popular for saying this, but Blue cheeses are best served and go very well with dessert wines such as a Riesling or a Muscat. The belief that blue cheese and red wine are a great match is not true. Wait until you have tried the alternative and you’ll believe us! Mt Eliza Blue Monkey and Tohu Noble Riesling is a great match!


Creamy cheeses complement and pair well with sparkling wines and champagne. The bubbles tend to cleanse and refresh the palate. There is a reason Champagne goes well with cream cheese on bagels!


Want to try a selection of beautiful local cheese’s? Want to find out more about pairing cheese and wines? Make sure that you come join us on one of our Big Foody Food tours!


Shopping for the Perfect Cheese Platter on a Big Foody Food Tour

Posted by on October 24, 2017

Cheese platters - what is better than a plate of cheese put in front of you decorated with additional edible delights? The answer is very simply nothing! But how do you choose cheeses that complement each other and how do you pick from such a huge variety?

Growing up at home, at the end of the Sunday roast there was always a call for cheese. A beautiful old wooden cheese board was pulled out of the bottom draw and room temperature cheese unwrapped to finish off our meal. Inevitably there was a farmhouse cheddar or piece of Red Leicester, some brie ready to run off the plate and potentially something Dutch like Maasdam or Edam. So what makes the perfect cheese board? It all comes down to the people you are serving it to. If you know that people don’t like blue or strong cheeses, don’t bother putting it on the plate. Similarly if you have had a rich meal, super rich cheeses like camembert will not be a great fit to finish the meal.

Put together cheeses that will complement each other but with contrasting textures. The rule of thumb is one hard, one soft and one blue. Personally I love an aged Dutch style (the addictive Mahoe Very Old Edam is the perfect example), something soft like a goats cheese or runny french brie and a strong piece of blue (Mt Eliza’s Blue Monkey or English Stilton).

You could take it to the extreme and leave cow's milk cheeses off the board all together. A classic sheep's milk pecorino, like the stunning Tenara goats cheese from Kaikoura Cheeses or another ash rolled goats cheese, and if you’re lucky enough to have good buffalo cheese around you add that! In New Zealand we have the fabulous Whangaripo Buffalo cheese company and their Marin Blue is simply delicious.

Personally, I love cheese with very fresh bread, but after a heavy meal, that’s just too much. There are so many varieties of crackers on offer but don’t go with anything overly powerful as it will change the flavours of the cheese. A couple of simple pieces of fruit to go with the cheese and you’re sorted.

If your platter is for a group of friends before a meal or with some drinks, bulk it out with up to 5 cheeses, some delicious fruit pastes or a simple jar of plum jam, some grapes and both fresh bread and crackers.

Time to pour that glass of wine and enjoy your platter!

If you want to curate your own perfect cheese platter, be sure to join us on one of our Big Foody Food tours.


Cheese and Onion Muffins

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on October 19, 2017

One of our favourite muffin recipes at The Big Foody is the most simple to do and almost fool proof.



4 cups of self raising flour

4 eggs

1 ½ cups of milk

½ cup of sunflower oil or canola oil

1 packet of onion soup mix

2 tbsp of onion marmalade or onion jam

1 spring onion finely chopped.

1 cup grated cheddar (preferably strong cheddar)

1 cup of brie or mozzarella chopped into squares

Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 180

Very simply mix the ingredients until combined. Spoon into lined muffin tins. Cook for 20-25 mins. The muffins will be cooked when you can pierce them with a skewer / knife and it comes out clean.

Any cheese will work with this recipe and you can play around adding other ingredients too. We love roast pepper and pesto muffins and parmesan and spinach.


The Big Foody Food Tours Favourite Cheese Tips

Posted by on October 17, 2017

The Big Foody Food Tours Favourite Cheese Tips


We at the Big Foody Food Tours have come up with our favourite Cheese Tips; from the best way to store cheese, to our favourite ways of adding flavour to dishes. Read below or join us on one of our Big Foody Food Tours.


  • The best way to store cheese - wrap it in waxed paper & pop it in a ziplock bag or loosely wrap it in glad-wrap and put it in the refrigerator vegetable drawer.


  • Got blue / green mould growing on your hard cheeses? Cut off 1/2cm to 1cm below the mould and the rest is good to use.


  • Cheese gone a bit hard? Don’t throw it out! Simply use it to grate over pizza or pasta.


  • Don’t toss out the rind of Parmesan cheese, pop it into your soups, risottos, and chilli’s for extra flavour. Or our favourite bake it in the oven at 180 for 20 mins on greaseproof paper and turn it into parmesan crackling. Perfect through salads or whizzed into a powder to add to baking.


  • To cut those super soft, delicate cheeses into perfect pieces, try cutting them using unflavoured dental floss - no more mess!


  • Keep cheese from sticking to your grater by giving it a spritz with some oil spray and always grate your cheese when it is cold.


Join us on one of our Big Foody Food Tours to taste a selection of delicious local cheese and ask our Cheese-mongers plenty of questions and for any more tips that they may have.


Southland Cheese Rolls

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on October 05, 2017

  • 250g tasty cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 200ml evaporated milk
  • 1/2 packet onion soup powder
  • 1/2 loaf sandwich bread


Mix the cheese, evaporated milk, onion and onion soup powder together in a small saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the mixture has thickened and become smooth. 

Allow it to cool slightly before spreading on the sandwich bread. Roll the bread up lenth ways and brush with melted butter. Put on a greased baking tray ready for the oven. Grill, turning until they are golden brown. 

Quick and Easy Cheese Scones

Posted by on October 04, 2017

Quick and Easy Cheese Scones

4 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups of grated tasty cheese
300ml Cream
330ml can lemonade

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Grease and flour an oven tray. Shake off excess flour.

Sift flour into a bowl, add baking powder and cheese. Gently mix together.

Make a well in the centre. Add cream and lemonade to flour. Mix ingredients together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface. Roll and press dough into 2cm-thick log.

Cut into 2cm thick slices. Place rounds, side by side, on prepared tray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until scones are golden and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack.



You can add herbs, spices, sundried tomatoes, caramalised onions etc for a bit of a change.

To freeze: Keep scones in an airtight container or snap-lock bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.

Mixing: Handle the dough as little as possible.

Baking: Arrange scones side by side for even rising.


New Zealand Cheesemaking - a brief history

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on October 03, 2017

It is one of the greatest culinary joys and super addictive; this October at the Big Foody Food Tours, we are celebrating CHEESE!

New Zealand is one of the world's top dairy producing nations and carries a history of providing high quality dairy produce, especially milk powder and cheese.

The combination of fertile soils, mild climate and endless grass pasture is the perfect combination for dairy farmers, resulting in happy cows producing creamy and more yellow colour milk than their grain fed housed counterparts in other countries.

From our big co-operatives to our small cheese mongers, we produce some of the finest cheese in the world and we love to show it off on our Auckland Food Tours.

New Zealand’s dairy industry has always been export oriented. The first dairy export can be attributed back to 1885  to a Taranaki entrepreneur who sent 2 kegs of Eltham butter to England. As a Brit, Elle grew up in the UK with the New Zealand butter Anchor which was promoted on television by a cheerful jingle with the lyrics  “Anchor Butter from green, green grass” New Zealand cheddar was one of the most delicious sold at the supermarket.

But what is exactly is cheese and how does the somewhat plain tasting milk, get turned into this delicious, hugely gratifying addictive goodness?

Simply put, (believe it or not), the naturally occurring bacteria in the milk feeds on the sugar contained in the milk and the lactose, whereby creating lactic acid. The acid causes the milk protein, casein, to separate into solid lumps of curd and watery whey.

By compressing the curd, you end up with a sharp, coarse cheese, which is the earliest form of cheese, eaten by our ancestors many, many years ago.

No one can say for sure, who and where the first cheesemakers were, but residues have been found from 2300 BC in a pot in Egypt. It is around this time, that evidence of cheesemaking was also found in China, America and the Pacific- it was afterall, a means of preserving milk for use all year round.

From this simple, most accidental form of cheesemaking, the basics of cheesemaking are primarily when bacteria is introduced into milk and the conditions are manipulated under which the bacteria grow, to yield the product so desired to be made. The millions of bacteria are the reason behind the milks extensive transformation into cheese.

Sometimes new varieties are created by accident, some are successful and some are not!

New Zealand’s first blue cheese was manufactured in 1951 at the now Bridge Street site of the multinational co-op Fonterra in the Taranaki.

Brie and Camembert styles have been made in New Zealand on an experimental basis since 1911, but it was not until the late 1970’s that successful production began. One of the first companies to produce Bries and Camemberts was the Puhoi Cheese company.

Once the 1980’s hit, New Zealand saw a rise of boutique cheese makers. On our tours we taste cheese made by over thirty different cheese makers. From Biddy in Eketahuna who has 5 cows (who we all know by name) to the mighty dairy giant Fonterra. For those who love cheese it’s a great experience.


The Big Foody's Favourite Honey Tips just for you

Posted by on September 27, 2017

Our Favourite Honey Tips just for you


1) Substitute Honey for Sugar in Baking

For every cup of sugar, replace it with ¾ cup honey.

For best results, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid by ¼ cup.

Also reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.


2) To sweeten your coffee or tea,  we recommend substituting sugar with the goodness of honey!


3) To soothe the throat and cough and to make you feel better when you are under the weather, try our concoction of lemon and honey.

Combine 1 teaspoon of honey with the juice of a lemon and dilute with warm water to your liking and drink.


4) To relieve hangovers after a big night, a few tablespoons of honey, which are filled with fructose will help you speed up your body’s metabolism of the alcohol.


Honey! Sweet glorious Honey!

Posted by on September 06, 2017

Liquid Gold, they call it!

Honey! Sweet, sticky and full of goodness!

Produced by clever and busy bees by collecting the nectar of flowers, honey has long been valued and used in food and medicine throughout different cultures.


Honey is a perfect addition and ingredient to so many of our favourite foods; Honey cakes, Honey Martini’s, Honey-cured bacon, Baklava, Hot Toddy’s or just simply honey on toast or drizzled over greek yogurt (… making you hungry yet?)


But did you know that in it’s lifetime of 6-8 weeks a honey bee only produces about 5 grams of honey, that is approximately just 1 teaspoon for you to enjoy in a cup of tea. These hardworking creatures are not only a source of natural and tasty food, they are also significantly important in supporting our food chain.


Without bees, we would not have many of our foods including Strawberries, Avocados, Kiwifruit, Apples, Nuts and even Coffee and Chocolate! All of these foods are needed to be pollinated by honey bees.


This month (September), New Zealand celebrates Bee Aware month. Run by Apiculture New Zealand, they put a spotlight on the role that Bees play on pollinators of our food.


New Zealand is famous for it’s Manuka Honey, produced by bees by collecting nectar from Manuka flowers. Manuka is a native plant to New Zealand and it’s honey has been shown to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.


Earthbound Honey, Organic Beekeepers is located in Bethells Valley, north-west of Auckland, New Zealand and our visitors are lucky enough to sample a selection of their honey on our Auckland tours.

Earthbound Honey are artisan, organic beekeepers producing local organic honey, collected exclusively by their own bees from Manuka, Pohutukawa and wildflowers. They offer pollination services to local orchardists and farmers and pick-up any unwanted Bee swarms from us urban folk!


As well as their beautiful selection of honey, they also produce a range of Balms, salves, candles and honey vinegar.

Next time your in Auckland make sure that you join us on one our our Big Foody food tours and taste Earthbounds bountiful produce.


On the other side of the world in Portland, Oregon in the United States, you will find Bee Local, where our customers get to sample raw honey, full of flavour and health benefits. Honey that is never blended, retains its pollen and is only gently filtered. Established in 2011 by Damien Magista after discovering that the hives that he had placed in his hometown of Portland Oregon, had completely different flavour profiles, colours and textures. Bee Local has since grown into a national company with their goal to become “the most trusted, transparent and tasty honey company in America”. Next time you are in Portland make sure that you book yourself a Portland food tour with The Big Foody and taste some of their amazing honey.




Honey and Orange Fudge Recipe

Posted by on September 06, 2017

Honey and Orange Fudge


Making fudge can be a long painful drawn out process where thermometers are involved and the risk of sugar burns are great. Or you can make it in the microwave in minutes. We prefer this option!


1 can of sweetened condensed milk

â…“ cup of local honey

2 cups of brown sugar

250g butter

Zest of one orange


Place sweetened condensed milk, honey, brown sugar and butter in a large glass bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes remove from the microwave and carefully stir mixture. Return to microwave for 8 minutes more, stirring every 2 minutes. Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes

Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the orange zest and beat for 3-5 minutes, or until fluffy.

Line a square pan with parchment paper and tip in the fudge mix. Level out with a spatula and gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air pockets.

Allow to cool for thoroughly - usually around 3 hours.

Cut into shapes or squares and try very hard to to eat in one go!