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.
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.
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.
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