No Christmas lunch is complete without a cheesy finale. Here's our guide to every cheese you need on your cheeseboard this festive season
Looking for cheeseboard success this Christmas? The key is to serve three to five quite different cheeses, so all tastes are accounted for. We've put together a guide to all the cheeses you need to make a cheeseboard to beat all others...
The hard cheese
A really good cheddar makes a great cheeseboard centrepiece. Go for something extra-mature, gutsy and tangy, like Keen’s. Other hard cheeses worth their place on the board are grana padano, which is fruity and slightly grainy, and gruyère, which has a rich, nutty, sweet flavour.
The soft cheese
Full-flavoured, creamy camembert and a milder, runnier mature brie are great cheeseboard standards, but if you’re looking for something more adventurous, try Pié d’Angloys, which is full-bodied with a hint of honey, or taleggio, a mild, tangy, rinded cheese. Any of these is a great foil to hard cheese.
The blue-veined cheese
Blue stilton is a Christmas cheeseboard classic. It’s creamy, complex and slightly acidic without being sharp, with a texture similar to chilled butter. A great alternative is Saint Agur, which is rich and very moist, or roquefort, which is strongly tangy. A good blue cheese brings a note of acidity that complements milder-flavoured cheeses.
The goat's or sheep's milk cheese
Spanish manchego is a hard ewe’s milk cheese with a buttery, nutty flavour; chèvre is a soft, goat’s milk cheese; and Kidderton Ash is a soft-mould, ripened goat’s cheese with the interesting addition of charcoal. Any of these would be great as an extra.
The speciality cheese
Epoisses is a rich and aromatic cheese with a smooth velvety texture, washed in brandy. Beacon Fell has a soft, slightly crumbly taste, and Wensleydale is classified as a hard cheese, but has a wonderfully milky feel.
The perfect accompaniments
There’s no need to go overboard with your biscuit choices – and it can be more cost-effective to buy two different types instead of an assortment. Stick to something sweet, like digestives, for blue cheese and something light and crisp, like water biscuits, for everything else.
Pickles of all sorts are a predictable standby to accompany cheese but, as it’s Christmas, why not shake it up? Ripe, luscious figs go beautifully with tangy cheese; celery is great with strong cheddar and pickled walnuts make a change from onions with their sweet-sour flavour and beetrooty texture.