A Cheesy Christmas
Serving the right cheese board at Christmas is just as important as making sure the turkey is juicy and there’s plenty of brandy sauce to go with the Christmas pudding. In other words: essential.
Christmas is all about indulgence, and shouldn’t stop at dessert. The cheese course may (in most places) be the final course of the meal but that doesn’t mean it should be a last thought.
Serving special, different or tempting cheeses will not only boost sales, but could make your customers remember you (and return) long after the last crackers have been pulled.
According to the British Cheese Board, the cheese must be the hero of the board and it believes that a carefully selected mix of traditional cheeses offered with some unusual extras is hard to beat. For Christmas, the board recommends a classic combination of an ‘’extra mature Cheddar, a beautifully ripe and ‘starting to run’ Brie and a creamy mature Blue Stilton”.
Tips for the perfect cheese board
Pick your cheeses well so they are at the peak of their flavour profile, and offer local cheeses that have a distinct flavour. Complement these with a wonderful sweet blended cheese like Wensleydale or White Stilton as a base mixed with cranberries, or mango and ginger. Or offer one of the other many exotic varieties that tend to appear in December.
Big it up
Make a point of talking up the cheese board on the menu naming the cheeses, where they come from and accompaniments.
Do it yourself
Make your own flavoured cheese. Pick a base cheese and crumble it into a bowl. Mix in your preferred dried fruits, spices or herbs. Line a container with cheese cloth or cling film and add the mixture. Press down well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
How to serve
Always get the cheese up to room temperature before serving. Plain biscuits (not too salty) are the best accompaniment. Digestives or oat based biscuits work well too. For Stilton, serve it with plum loaf and mango chutney; other cheeses work well with fig jam or quince jelly (Membrillo).
Pair it up
What alcoholic drinks go best with cheese depends on personal taste. Red wine is fine but fruity white wine is increasingly being recommended as an alternative. A dessert wine or Madeira, Port or Oloroso Sherry is the best option to serve with blue cheeses, and a slightly sweet sparkling wine also fits the bill.