Although Christmas is perhaps not synonymous with cheese for people, it’s always a feature of chez Clark, come the yuletide period. A household with a strong appreciation for cheese, we use Christmas as the perfect excuse to stock up and have a fromage-fest. Usually on Boxing day, it will be a feature along with cold meats and salad.
This year I’ve come across a couple of new cheeses including Bath Blue, which a pal got for me on a visit to the Great British Cheese Festival which have inspired me to try and create a board with a balance of cheeses and something new. So thought I’d do a spot of research and some ideas from fellow cheese appreciators on what makes a good board. A few of the comments were:
- “Variety – and unpasteurised cheeses :)” – Chris
- “Something hard, something blue, something soft and a bit of goat” – James
- “Needs something creamy. Call me Scottish, but oatcakes are a must” – John
- “Something stinky!” – Carla
- “A good cheeseboard shouldn’t be pretty, just rustic” – Ellie (provider of said cheese)
Where to begin! I think there are a few key elements to a good cheeseboard, aside from the cheese itself:
- Accompaniments: jellies, chutneys, nuts, grapes, figs etc
- Biscuits and/or bread: different cheeses work better with different ones. I like soft cheeses on bread, hard cheeses on oat or wholemeal biscuits and blue cheeses on crunchy slim crackers
- Presentation: for cheese there are a few things to get right. Temperature is the most important thing because it affects the taste and spreadability. A nice wooden board is good aesthetically but to Ellie’s comment – it shouldn’t be too pretty!
- Booze: a good port and/or wine to go with is super important
By the way (if you think I’ve missed something from this I love to hear it).
Cheese-wise, I think I’m going to go with the following this year:
- Bath Blue
- Colston Basset Stilton
- Aged mature cheddar
- Goats cheese
- Something unpasturised if I can find it!
And in terms of accompaniments, it will be chilli jelly, spicy chutney, nuts and grapes. Booze-wise, it will be a fairly standard Taylor’s port. I’ll update this post with some pictures once I’ve done the board over Christmas 🙂