Say Christmas and cheese in the same sentence in Britain and the first thought will always go to Stilton Cheese,
but but as delicious and traditional that Stilton is, there are many other options for the perfect cheeseboard. With more than 700 British cheeses of the highest quality available you’ll be spoilt for choice. British cheese is amongst the best in the world.
What Cheese to Serve
For your Christmas cheeseboard select between three and five cheeses of differing textures and tastes. These should include:
- A hard cheese such as a West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, Wensleydale or Cheshire.
- Include a soft like a Somerset Brie or a Cornish Camembert like St Endillion.
- Blue, such a Stilton, Blue Lancashire, Shropshire Blue or Blue Wensleydale is a must as it brings in another taste and texture.
- Some of the new flavoured cheese, often with fruit or spices added bring another dimension, and though they add a fun factor, they are delicious too.
What to Serve with British Cheese
- Serve your cheese with fresh, natural ingredients which traditionally are grapes, apples, celery.
- Pickles such as pickled onions , a dollop of chutney or piccallili is always welcome.
- Alongside the cheese serve biscuits or crackers but avoid any which are very strong in taste or too salty.
- Christmas Cake served with cheeses like Wensleydale or Stilton are a very festive and traditional flavour.
What to Drink with Cheese
- Traditional and so very, very British is Port with Stilton cheese, a true marriage of flavours.
- The spicy flavours of an Oloroso Sherry make a great partner to a Blue, and in particular, a Blue Stilton but even more at home with the pungent "Blues" is a sweet, pudding wine.
- A wee dram of Whisky with cheese. The smoky, deep notes of a Talisker were made to be drunk with a robust Farmhouse Cheddar.
- Full-bodied reds stand up well to mature cheeses and also like a little blue. Dry white wines feel more comfortable with milder cheeses like a Red Leicester or similar.
- And finally, do not overlook beers with cheese, they were after all one of the first drinks drunk with cheese and there is no denying they work very well together. Darker beers with mature, harder, lighter therefore obviously better with lighter flavoured cheese.
Tips for Buying, Storing and Serving Cheese
Cheese is a live product and should be treated as such It should always be enjoyed fresh which is not to say it doesn't keep well if done properly.
- Wrap cheese tightly in foil or waxed paper, soft blues can also be wrapped in a barely damp tea cloth. Avoid wrapping any cheese in clingfilm or plastic as this chokes the cheese.
- Buy softer cheeses such as Brie and Camembert in advance to allow them to mature.
- Always remove cheese from the fridge a few hours ahead of eating as the flavours are dead from the cold and need to be gently warmed up to room temperature.
- Use separate knives to cut different cheese to avoid cross contamination of flavour.
- Left over cheese can be frozen but hard or semi hard cheeses should be grated before freezing.