Christmas: How to curate the perfect cheeseboard
Want to put together the perfect cheeseboard this Christmas? The experts at Suffolk’s Slate Cheese share their top tips
Feast of cheese-mas
Your Christmas cheeseboard should offer choices to cater for all the tastebuds around your table. Consider a range of milks, rennet and pasteurisation to suit specific dietary requirements; also balance cheese styles and textures to create a truly tempting selection. Alongside something soft, fresh and goaty, include an indulgent brie-style cheese and a hard, grassy Cheddar. Contrast a light crumbly Cheshire with creamy, piquant Stilton and, of course, a true stinker to knock Granddad’s socks off!
Deck the halls
Christmas turkey comes with all the trimmings and the same should apply to your cheeseboard. Provide a decadent array of accompaniments to make your cheese choices sing! Think complementary and contrasting in terms of both flavour and texture. A range of crackers from sweet oatcakes to crunchy sourdough crispbreads, and handfuls of nuts, such as pecans to enjoy with local Binham Blue and walnuts with cheddar-style Norfolk Dapple. Dried fruit including apricots, dates and cranberries bring jewel colours and natural sweetness that sits well alongside salty cheese. Stilton is particularly delicious crumbled on mince pies and Wensleydale accompanied by a slice of Christmas cake. A drizzle of honey is fantastic with goat's cheese like Dorstone and a spoonful of dark relish perfect with hard cheeses and the Boxing Day pork pie.
The right choice in your wine glass can turn a delicious mouthful of cheese into a truly memorable festive feast. Classic Christmas pairings include Stilton with port or a sweet dessert wine such as White Castle Vineyard's 1851. Buttery Chardonnay from Chapel Down in Kent brings complementary flavours to Kirkham's Lancashire and for a truly indulgent match enjoy Simpsons' Chalklands Classic Cuvée with Baron Bigod, a sparkling wine that beautifully contrasts the creamy texture of this luxurious cheese.
Not just for Christmas
Leftovers are a Christmas classic and with a little care, remaining cheeses will last well right through to the New Year. A few large pieces of cheese store better than many small ones. Keep them well wrapped in the waxed paper in which your cheese arrives to prevent drying out and cracking. Never use cling film or you'll get a sweaty cheese, and store washed rind cheeses in a separate sealed container to prevent their strong aroma permeating the rest of the cheeseboard.
Slate Cheese has stores in Southwold and Aldeburgh and specialises in the best cheeses from Britain and beyond. Cheese and gifts are available for nationwide delivery. For more information visit slatecheese.co.uk
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