The perfect Christmas cheeseboard


Christmas is the perfect time to indulge in your favourite British cheeses so the British Cheese Board has devised this easy step-by-step checklist of how to prepare the perfect cheeseboard. 

  • You will need a wooden or marble cheeseboard, a couple of cheese knives, and of course a good selection of British cheeses
  • When buying cheese for a cheeseboard, try to select between three and five cheeses of different types, colours and textures. These should include a hard cheese, a soft cheese, a blue cheese, a blended cheese and, ideally, a local/new cheese. More information on the perfect cheese choices is provided in the section below.
  • Liven up your cheeseboard with a festive garnish, such as a sprig of holly or mistletoe.
  • Accompany your selection of cheeses with grapes, apples, dried fruits, tomatoes or celery.  Or try some of the more unusual accompaniments, such as olives, pickles or chutneys. Sweet pickles work especially well, particularly with blue cheeses – try mango chutney with your Stilton.
  • Offer the cheese alongside biscuits or crackers that don’t taste too strong or salty, so that they don’t overpower the flavours of the cheese. If you’re serving Wensleydale or Cheshire on your cheeseboard, why not offer some Christmas cake for a wonderfully festive combination.
  • Have a number of knives to hand and always use a separate knife to cut blue cheese and a separate knife to cut mould ripened cheeses such as Brie.
  • Wrap any unused hard cheese and keep in the refrigerator. If the remaining cheese is an odd shape, and can’t be re-used on the cheeseboard, incorporate it into a cheesy recipe.

 

THE PERFECT CHEESE FOR THE PERFECT CHEESEBOARD

 

1)  A hard cheese

Keen’s West Country Farmhouse Cheddarfor those who enjoy a strong, mature and farmy flavoured cheddar.

West Country Farmhouse Cheddar is a Protected Designation of Origin and can only be made in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset or Dorset from local milk. Keen’s cheddar is made from raw milk produced by the Keen’s own cows, grazing the lush pastures on the edge of the Blackmore Vale. Great attention is given to the cows, their feed, and the milk they produce. As the cheese matures, all the sweet creamy flavours in the milk create a rich complex array of tastes which wake up the taste buds. Flavours will vary throughout the year.

Belton’s Cheshire cheesefor those who enjoy a milder young cheese with a fresh taste.

Young Cheshire is a slightly crumbly and silky textured cheese with a fresh milky flavour. As Cheshire matures it becomes firmer in texture and slightly darker in colour. The flavours become more complex but the cheese remains clean tasting. The texture is still crumbly but the cheese has a drier mouth feel.

Extra Mature Creamery Cheddar (e.g. Davidstow, Tickler, Lake District, Colliers or Seriously Strong)extra mature for stronger flavour and a long-lasting finish.

These cheeses are typically matured for between 9 and 18 months.


2)  A soft cheese

The Lubborn Creamery’s Somerset Ripening Brie

Somerset Brie is creamy with a mild, fresh flavour and a soft edible white rind. It is made with milk from local farms and traditionally ripened. The curd is the colour of straw, and as it ripens from the outside in, it becomes softer, richer and with a fuller flavour.

Cornish Country Larder’s Cornish Camembert

Handmade at the Cornish creamery, this Camembert has been carefully developed to give a delicious full bodied flavour one would normally only expect from an un-pasteurised cheese. It has a melting, smooth texture and a wonderfully complex and tangy flavour.

 

3) A blue cheese

Blue Stiltonfor those who enjoy a strong flavoured blue cheese, with a soft and creamy texture.

Blue Stilton is honoured with a certification trademark and Protected Designation of Origin status, meaning it can only be made in the counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to a specified recipe. There are just 6 dairies in the world allowed to use the name on their cheese. It is smooth and creamy with a slightly acidic flavour when young. As it matures the texture becomes softer and creamier with a mellow flavour. A remarkable cheese for melting or crumbling over salads – definitely not just for the cheeseboard. For a more mellow flavour look for cheeses labelled as “Creamy” or “Mature” – this means they have been matured for a few weeks longer and tend to have a more mellow, less sharp flavour.

Blue Wensleydalefor newcomers to blue cheese, who may be looking for a blue cheese with a delicate and mellow flavour.

A creamy blue cheese, Wensleydale Blue from the Wensleydale Creamery has a mellow, yet full flavour, which will appeal to newcomers to blue cheese & connoisseurs alike. This cheese was awarded Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards in 2012.

Cornish Bluefor those who prefer a milder, creamy blue cheese.

Designed to be eaten as a young cheese, Cornish Blue is a very different product from traditional English blue cheeses. It is soft and moist when young and similar in flavour to some continental blues. As it matures further for up to 12 weeks, it develops a fuller, slightly tangy flavour and firmer drier texture.

 

4)  A blended cheese

Wensleydale with Cranberriesfor those who enjoy a clean, mild, slightly sweet flavour.

Creamy Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese carefully combined with the delicate, fruity succulence of sweetened cranberries. An original creation from The Wensleydale Creamery, the cheese displays an amazing complement of flavours, with superb visual experience.

 

White Stilton with Mango and Ginger

White Stilton is a perfect base cheese for blending with sweet fruits. White Stilton is made in the same way as Blue Stilton, but without the addition of the blue mould. This creates a wonderfully creamy yet crumbly young cheese that is fantastic on its own, but transformed by the addition of fruits. The most popular fruits to be added are apricot or cranberry, closely followed by mango and ginger.

 

5)  A local/new cheese

Top tip – if you’re able to, always try and include a local cheese or a more unusual variety as well to wow your guests with.

Our cheese flavour map (http://apps.facebook.com/cheese-flavour-map/) is designed to help people discover something new, as it guides people through the different flavours of many of the top British cheeses, and offers suggestions of new cheeses to try out.

 

HOW TO ENJOY CHEESE AT ITS BEST

 

  • Cheese is best enjoyed fresh, although it can be stored in a cool environment for anything from a couple of days to several weeks, depending on the type of cheese.
     
  • All cheese should be removed from the refrigerator at least one hour before serving and kept loosely wrapped. This will bring out the true flavour.
  • When storing cheese, either wrap tightly in foil or cling-film or keep in an airtight container in the bottom part of the fridge.
  • Hard and semi-hard cheeses can be frozen for up to 3 months.  Blue Stilton freezes beautifully – the trick being defrosting it in the fridge overnight.  Other cheeses can come out quite crumbly after being frozen.

 


CONTACT DETAILS

For more information e-mail us at enquiries@britishcheese.com or call us on 020 7025 0559.