An indulgent, flavoured cheeseboard is the preferred choice for the festive period. A minimum of four varieties of cheese make up an interesting cheeseboard to ensure a good amount of choice for guests without being overwhelming. Wensleydale and cranberry, or white Stilton and apricot are always popular, winning choices.
However, for a great variety, think about including:
- A rich and oozy classic French Epoisses
- A characterful blue, such as a creamy and tangy French Roquefort
- Fresh goat’s cheese such as the award-winning Soignon goat log to provide a lighter, palate cleansing option
- A traditional territorial such as a fine quality, rich farmhouse cheddar
And don’t forget the accompaniments!
- Fresh fruits – figs, grapes and pear slices
- Artisan breads
For an on-trend twist, try serving a different version of breaded cheese; alternatives such as a mild goat’s cheese or punchy Roquefort.
A favourite Christmas showstopper is a light soufflé incorporating soft goat’s cheese and smoked bacon for depth of flavour.
For a party treat, wrap a wedge of Camembert in smoked streaky bacon and strips of buttered filo pastry, then bake until deliciously crisp.
Cheese scraps can also be used in inventive ways – the rinds of Parmesan, Comte or Brie make excellent sauces!
The big cheese
“Stilton really is the best cheese for Christmas because it takes six months to mature,” said Ronald Robson executive head chef at the Glasshouse, Newcastle upon Tyne. “If you think about it, the grass is at its best right at the height of summer, so six months later is the best time for the cheese, hence why it is traditional. If you can afford a whole stilton, take a scoop out of the middle and pour some port into it.”