Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Big Foody's Tips on matching Cheese and Beer

Posted by on October 26, 2017

The Big Foody’s Tips on matching Cheese & Beer

Characteristics in beer and cheese are surprisingly similar; nutty, floral, earthy, dry, sharp, smooth and creamy are just a few of the words that can describe both.

Matching cheeses and beers can be a challenging task, but not only can they complement each other, they can also have contrasting flavours and textures which work well together too.

Here are The Big Foody Food Tours top tips in matching Beers with Cheese.

Hard Cheeses with poignant, aromatic and milky undertones are generally very beer friendly. We like Gouda and Pilsner matches or if are feeling adventurous try with a malty stout.

Traditional Cheddars with sharp, distinct flavours pair perfectly with fruity, grassy, aromatic pale ales. Our favourite Cheddar pairing is with an IPA or a Double IPA.

Sheep and Goats milk cheeses have a huge breadth of flavours and often match well with malty beers and amber ales.

Washed rind cheeses complement certain beers very well. Their pungent flavours can match equally strong beer.

Blue milky cheese’s with pungent, spicy tones are well-suited to aromatic and floral hop beers. The classic blue cheese and barley wine is hard to beat.

Feta and Pilsner are a great match. The saltiness in the cheese compliments the slightly sweeter pilsners.

Soft-ripened cheeses such as beautiful creamy and delicate Bries and Camemberts go best with light bubbly beers, such as pilsner and fruit beers but can match well with saisons and farmhouse ales.

So beer and cheese is definitely a thing. It is possibly one of the greatest things too!

Join us on one of our Big Foody Beer or Food tours for cheese tasting, beer tasting, local history and knowledgeable guides who will answer any of your questions.

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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.