North German Cheese Plate and Easy Crackers Recipe: effortless and impressive appetizers and cheeses, rye crackers, meat, fish, fruit and nuts.
The idea of a North German cheese plate was inspired by our getaway on a farm in Northern Frisia some weekends ago. Located on the boarder between Germany and Denmark and very close to the North Sea, it offers beautiful nordic sceneries, rigorous climate and hasteless lifestyle. It’s flat like a pancake, with endless fields and strong winds that nearly knock you down. It’s easy to get lost in these wide flatlands that look so similar: green grass, pasturing kettle, mostly sheep and old school farmer houses with thatched roofs…
German-Danish border is right around the corner!
And that’s the sea: sheep are pasturing right on the shore.
It’s nice to have a calm weekend on the countryside and slow down your life tempo once in a while. The North Frisian landscapes looks very similar to Dutch ones. As they share the same climate, it has an effect on food habits, as you can imagine. We all know Dutch cheeses but German and Danish ones are less popular. It’s unfair, isn’t it? German and Danish cheeses deserve their hour of triumph, too! That’s why this North German cheese plate inspired by this trip consists of local cheeses, spreads, nuts and locally grown fruits.
North German Cheese Plate: Cheeses and Drinks
There are no olives and no grapes but there is smoked fish, North Sea shrimps, dry-
If you want to prepare a nice North German cheese plate (although not only), don’t forget three things, besides beer and cheeses: something crunchy, something meaty, and something fruity.
I’ve made rye bread crackers which are ridiculously easy to make. You just need one ingredient. Yes, you guessed right, it’s rye bread. Any other artisan breads with seeds or nuts would also fit well. Check the recipe below for instructions.
The next crunchy things are cornichons. They are a good alternative to olives which don’t grow in Northern Germany. Cornichons are sour and salty and they go perfectly with cheese. Who knows, maybe they are your new olives on a cheese plate?
Nuts also give a little crunch to the soft and chewy variety of cheeses. I picked walnuts, as they are grown locally but you can feel free experimenting with pistachios, pecans or hazelnuts.
Something Meaty (and Fishy)
If you visit the North Sea coast you probably will eat a lot of fish and seafood but also all-German dry-
You can substitute any other shrimps for North Sea shrimps , as they are probably not easy to get outside of the North Sea region. Prosciutto ham will go well instead of dry-
You can serve dried or fresh fruits but I prefer both. I like fresh and seasonal local fruits, so I’ve picked pears. Apples would fit well, too, especially at this time of the year. I wasn’t that picky with dried fruits as you can enjoy them the whole year round, so I’ve chosen dried cherries and apricots. Dried plums, cranberries, apples and pears would fit perfectly, too. Pick up your favorite fresh and dried fruits which are in season in your region and you won’t be wrong.
Finally, the fruity component which is at the same time pungent and astringent is fig mustard. If it’s not available, fig jam will save the situation. Honey is always good as a pairing to cheese, too, as well as any olive-based spreads like tapenade, but I was limited by regional food, so I didn’t include them. But you can!
All in all, that’s pretty much everything about the North German cheese plate. If you have any questions about German or Danish cheeses, feel free to ask in comments. And in case you are looking for an impressive and super easy artisan crackers recipe, here you go:
North German Cheese Plate and Easy Crackers Recipe
For the rye crackers (4 servings):
- 6 slices thin rye bread
For the cheese plate (4 servings):
- Danish Pilsner (or any other light lager brown or amber beer)
- 150 grams or 5 oz aged gouda
- 150 grams or 5 oz Danish Bernsteiner
- 150 grams or 5 oz Velfrisk Danish North Sea cheese
- 150 grams or 5 oz Nørvind cheese with blue and white mould
- rye bread crackers see the recipe below
- about 12 cornichons
- a handful walnuts (or pistachios pecans/hazelnuts)
- 150 grams or 5 oz smoked trout or salmon/eel
- 100 grams or 3.5 oz North Sea shrimps or any other shrimps
- 150 grams or 5 oz dry-cured Holsteiner smoked ham or Prosciutto ham
- 85 grams or 3 oz fine liver pâté with plums or any other pâté mixed with chopped dried plums
- 1 pear
- a handful dried cherries and apricots (or dried cranberries apples, pears/plums)
- 60 grams or 2 oz fig mustard or fig jam/honey
To make the rye crackers:
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C or 350 °F.
- Cut your bread slices in 4 pieces (if their shape is square or round). Arrange on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 5 minutes, flip over and roast for 3 more minutes or until crispy.
To assemble the cheese plate:
- Arrange all the ingredients together with rye crackers on a large wooden board or plate. Serve as an appetizer. Enjoy!
You can serve this cheese plate as an appetizer for big occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, as well as for date nights in or family gatherings. It looks really impressive and unusual and yet is super easy and fast to make, as there is zero cooking involved, except of slicing bread and artistically arranging cheeses. I would love to hear about your preferences in cheese plates. Olives/meats/fruits? What is your go-to cheese plate?