Simple steps to creating the perfect cheeseboard

With Christmas approaching, master the skill of the cheese plate with Spinneys’ cheese expert, Paul Crawford’s advice

For me, there’s no better way to end a meal than with a well-curated cheese board. You’ll find a huge variety of delicious cheeses in store (not to mention crackers, chutneys, relishes and more) but it’s well worth bearing a few things in mind when putting your festive selection together.

Offer a mix

Fill your cheeseboard with different flavours, textures and colours. I tend to present five or so cheeses, from the following groups:

  • Soft cheese: it’s hard to beat a creamy brie or camembert, particularly at Christmas.
  • Semi-hard cheese: look out for Winston Handmade Strong Cheddar; it has fantastic slightly sharp flavour.
  • Blue cheese: including a blue cheese is a must for me. Cashel Blue is creamy, tangy, and just the right side of salty.
  • Hard cheese: I’m passionate about Sartori Espresso; it’s an American hard cheese with an espresso rind. That might sound strange, but it’s actually a really great combination.
  • Goats’ cheese: valençay has a distinctive pyramid shape, light, mineral notes and a mellow, savoury taste.

Serving suggestions

I tend to allow between 80-120g cheese per person (in total). Of course, you can vary this depending on whether the cheeseboard is being served at the end of a large meal, or as more of a centrepiece.

Remove the cheeses from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving to allow their flavour and texture to develop fully.

Accompany your cheeses with chutneys, bread and crackers, fresh and dried fruit and nuts.

Seasonal tip

Two of my favourites at the moment are Delin Papya, a buttery cheese studded with chunks of sweet papaya on the outside and a whipped cream texture in the centre and Torta del Casar, a natural, semi-hard cheese with a really distinctive flavour: slightly salty, vaguely bitter, very delicious.

If you’ve got a cheese-related question that needs answering, don’t forget that you can get in touch with us on any of our social media channels using the hashtag #AskSpinneys.