A Christmas cheeseboard with no equal

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
  • Cambazola
  • Brie
  • 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 🙂


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