Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Preparing the perfect Christmas cheeseboard I believe is all about a couple of key components: looks, choice and a variety of textures and tastes.
Looks - We eat with our eyes so yes its got to look great. Cheese luckily comes in various colours, shapes and sizes so its the arranging that can be more challenging. Dried fruit, fresh fruit like figs and a few pieces of chocolate all add to the perfect picture!
Choice - Are you doing cheese from the world? are you going with a Meditteranean platter maybe including cold meats and dips or are you going British? Whatever you do at least three cheeses are important. Another tip is to serve at least one familiar cheese. Most cheese belongs to one of four basic categories: aged, soft, firm or blue. For a good variety, choose at least one from each group. Some examples: Aged: Aged Cheddar, Comte, Goat Gouda Soft: Constant Bliss, Camembert, Brillat-Savarin Firm: Manchego, Mimolette, Parmigiano-Reggiano Blue: Gorgonzola Dolce, Valdeón, Stilton
You can also try selecting cheeses by the type of milk used (cow, goat, sheep). This will ensure a range of different flavors on the plate.
My favourite Cheddars?
Traditionally our British cheese and now there are so many choices. For my festive board I would choose one of these: Black Bomber - just looks so impressive in its wax black jacket, and exudes an intense and strong taste. Cornish Yarg - a delicate, yoghurt cheese, probably the opposite of a black bomber! Very pretty visually as it is wrapped in nettle leaves. Cornish Yarg tends to have a fluffy textured centre with lactic flavours and a buttery, creamy breakdown under the slightly early edible rind. Sussex Charmer - Made by Plaw Hatch Farm, East Sussex, about 10 miles away. The vintage Cheddar is aged for two years and is from cows bred for a richer, creamier milk.
How Much Is Enough?
For a party in which cheese is the main event, plan on buying 3 pounds for 8 people, 6 pounds for 16, or 9 pounds for 24. If cheese is one of many items being served, plan on buying 3 to 4 ounces per person.
According to Carl at Flint & Oak, our local farm shop and Deli in Westerham he lists his favourite British cheeses: