Wine and cheese are the perfect partnership and while it’s true that the best cheeseboard is the one you make yourself, sometimes it’s nice to outsource the work. With the cooler months approaching, we thought we’d round up a few of Auckland’s best spots for a cozy time of wine and cheeseboards.
The Garden Shed
This neighbourhood bistro is a favourite for both locals and those further afield alike. Sitting pretty in Mt Eden Village, The Garden Shed emphasizes local, free-range ingredients. Enjoy the scenic surrounds of the courtyard as you tuck into the Garden Board – a selection of local cheeses served with dips, goats cheese pate, arancini, smoked paprika almonds and more. Wash it all down with a glass of Central Otago red and settle in for the evening.
Takapuna has a couple of pretty good hotspots and one of the best is The Commons. With an inviting outdoor seating area, The Commons’ cheese board is off the chain. Local cheeses are served with crackers, compote and fruit for you to nibble on as you wile away the evening. The experts suggest pairing it with a Jacob’s Creek cab sav, and who are we to protest?
Nestled away behind Fort Lane, this spot can be tricky to find but it’s worth the hunt. With beautiful décor, great ambience and live music, Everybody's hits all the right notes. Choose the Ploughman’s Board to share or stick to the smaller cheese board if you’re not letting anyone get their paws on your Roquefort. Everybody’s has a lovely selection of Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay wines to provide the perfect accompaniment to your cheese fest.
Stafford Road Wine Bar
With a name that has the word wine in it, you’d be right to expect some pretty big things from Stafford Road Wine Bar. Located in the ‘burbs of the North Shore, this spot has a great cheese board and, naturally, a pretty epic wine list. But wait, it gets better! Stafford Road Wine Bar is perfectly situated opposite the Bridgeway Cinemas. Catch a film then head over for some cheese and a drop of wine and you’ve got date night sussed.
Created as a space for good food, good wine and good company, Apero is one the best places you can enjoy the wine and cheese dream team. The exposed brick walls and wooden floors of the space make it cozy and inviting. The Apero crew have done the hard work for you by curating a selection of their favourite cheeses to serve with bread, nuts and fruits. With 30 wines available by the glass and staff who are more than happy to provide a couple of recommendations, you’re sure to find something you love.
Puhoi Valley Café
What better place to go for a cheeseboard than to a cheese factory? Puhoi Valley offers not one, not two, but four cheeseboards packed with their housemade dairy delights. If none of them take your fancy, you can create your own from their extensive selection of cellar ripened cheeses. Savour your platter out in the garden accompanied by one of the New Zealand wines the fully licensed café offers.
The Hunting Lodge
This is one spot that proves West really might be best! The Hunting Lodge winery restaurant has beautiful grounds for you to wander and beautiful food to fill you up afterwards. Their cheeseboard features a mysterious ‘cheese with no name’ alongside an aged meyer gouda, lavosh and grapes. Stick with the grapes theme and pick from their boutique wine list. The Hunting Lodge is a winery, so you know their selection’s going to be good.
If you want your cheese board served with a side of sass, Coco’s Cantina is the place for you. The lights will be low, the music will be cranking and some of Auckland’s most colourful characters will be present. The Coco’s cheeseboard changes daily but always features some of New Zealand’s finest produce. Peruse the wine list and choose one of the many interesting Italian wines they’ve got on offer to cut through all that dairy.
Ponsonby Rd Bistro
Another favourite neighbourhood bistro, Ponsonby Rd Bistro serves up a small, carefully curated cheese selection as individual or sharing platters. Check out the blackboard for the daily offerings – whatever it is, you’re in for a treat. You can be sure of an informed wine match so we’d recommend asking the staff for some guidance to make sure your food and drink complement each other perfectly.
Hotel de Brett
Hotel de Brett has to be one of Auckland’s coziest spots for a drink and a snack and, lucky for us, they happen to provide a pretty great cheeseboard. Graze on a selection of New Zealand cheeses with tasty accompaniments such as fig chutney and crostini. If you’re not much of a wine connoisseur, their menu helpfully breaks down the notes of each drop to lead you to the perfect choice. Arrive early to nab a couch in front of the fire then nibble and sip to your heart’s content.
One of New Zealand’s premier award-winning wineries, Villa Maria serves up great cheeseboards alongside even greater wines. It’s all about quality here, as Villa Maria serves Puhoi Valley cheeses in their platters. As well as the classic cheeseboard and charcuterie offerings, Villa Maria has a vegetarian platter that serves cheeses with smoked portobello, eggplant parfait, charred winter vegetables and more. No matter what wine you pick to pair with your cheese, you can bet it’s going to be delicious.
Any wine-related list has got to mention Waiheke Island, and this one is no exception. Man O’War winery has a fantastic Ploughman’s cheeseboard that pairs perfectly with a number of their house wines. Whether you’re a red or a white fan, Man O’War has got you well looked after. Take in the breathtaking ocean views as you scoff your cheese and wash it down with some of the best wine you’ll ever have the pleasure of drinking.
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Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews