To create the perfect cheeseboard this Christmas, I suggest you go for a balance of styles, types and textures of cheese. Usually three to five cheeses make a nice selection, but in the past I’ve been served just one ‘outstanding’ cheese, and really loved it. If you can’t decide what cheeses to buy this Christmas with this we’ve come up with some pre-set cheese selection and cheese gift boxes – it takes the stress out of the Christmas cheese delivery!
If you want to decide yourself though you can easily create a nicely balanced selection with three cheeses. It is common to include a soft Brie- or Camembert-style, a hard cheese (typically Cheddar) and, of course, a blue. You can offer a range of strengths and flavours within these styles. This Christmas, however, you could go for something different: move away from the classic Brie, Stilton and Cheddar, and experiment with some unusual farmhouse varieties. Old Winchester, for example, a strong-crystalline 20-month old Gouda style from Wiltshire, is a great replacement for Cheddar.
Once you’ve selected cheeses to fit the three core styles, any extra cheese you offer is up to you. Personally, I’d add a goats’ cheese or perhaps an interesting ‘washed-rind’ cheese – like St James from Cark-in-Cartmel or Winslade from Hampshire cheeses – a Camembert / Vacherin cross.
Finally, be careful not to be persuaded to serve up a whole small truckle of cheese, or individually waxed/potted cheeses. They have their place, but they are not a patch on the real thing, and will cost you much more than a delicious wedge cut fresh from a traditional large wheel.
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