When starting a major career change, the best first day ever has to be coming in to Swiftwater Brewing and ‘working’ a few hours in a cheeseboard brainstorming session. Sampling different cheeses from multiple sources with beers, pickles, smoked almonds, baguette, and olives was a great beginning. The cheeseboard was born, or the template anyway. Like theboards themselves, left over black walnut from trees harvested from the Cook family dairy farm, no two are ever exactly alike.
The cheeseboard is an evolving product driven by Swiftwater’s ideals of experimentation and collaboration with a focus on quality and local sourcing. While it has always consisted of housemade bread, three cheeses, pickles, almonds and seasonal fruit, whoever assembles the cheeseboard takes artistic license in exactly which pickles or fruits are selected and final arrangement and presentation for a given board.
Our house made baguette has been developed over the years to achieve the consistent quality dough you have come to expect! The bread was initially derived from a pizza dough recipe modified to use left-over brewing yeast. However, this proved to be too inconsistent, so bread yeast was adopted. Another change was to add a standardized egg wash with an “everything” topping mix. The baguettes are still formed in multiple styles, baked with or without steam and sliced a myriad of different ways, which provides the variations that have become our desired standard.
With the cheeses, we have always tried to balance creamy and dry, strong and mild and have been delighted to feature more and more excellent local products. We’ve worked with companies such as First Light Creamery who provided their cheddar brined with our Russian imperial stout. Recently, we have been experimenting with pairings from Tumino Cheese Company out of the Finger Lakes. We also love to include a jam-covered soft chevre.
We offer a plethora of seasonal pickled items, which are often made in house. Currently, we are enjoying house made dill pickles. The cucumbers, garlic and dill come from Aurora Ridge Gardens, and our gardens at Swiftwater. Pickling is best done in company, so multiple staff members have pitched in to peel garlic, assemble and can. Other seasonal house made products include sauerkraut, beet pickles, bread and butter pickles, and kimchi. When the bounty of the gardens are exhausted, we turn to a curated selection of pickles from various sources to bring contrast and variety to the cheeseboard.
For a bit of crunch and spice, my curried, candied, almond recipe was introduced in our second week of kitchen service. These have become a cheeseboard requisite. Occasionally, we’ll add roasted pumpkin seeds from Partyka Farms in Kendall. The Swiftwater cheese board may vary in content during different seasons but it always complements whatever beverages you have selected.