Ah, Twixmas. The time of year spent bleary eyed, watching a multitude of Christmas movies, adding Baileys to your coffee and uncertain what day it is. Also on the menu? Lots and lots of cheese. From Brie to classic Cheddar, our love for the humble cheese board is forever maturing (get it?), but it can present difficulty to craft the perfect one. After all, half the fun of making a cheese board is taking the perfect picture of it to share with all your friends…
When it comes to the cheese itself, you’ll want to have a balance in order to curate the perfect board, which includes both texture and flavour. Depending on how many people are partaking in the platter, you should aim for three to five different offerings which weigh around 50g each.
The traditional combination would include a soft cheese, hard cheese and a blue. However, many cheese boards also have goats cheese, or a Wensleydale with cranberries around the festive season for added flavour. If you include all of these, you can pretty much guarantee that everyone will like at least one artisan cheese. Try and be inventive and include at least one cheese you’re yet to taste, it may even become your new favourite…
Whilst cheese may be enough for some, for others the accompaniments are as important as the main event itself. As a priority you’ll need some crackers, but you can also add a flourish with some extras. Treat yourself to some chutney to spread on the crackers alongside the cheese in order to get some fresh flavourings.
Bring some breadsticks into the mix, and perhaps some hummus for dipping purposes. You can’t go wrong with some thinly cut sourdough bread as well. Next, include some cured meats for your cheese board. Prosciutto and serrano ham will complement your cheese best, but you can also chop up some chorizo for extra snacking.
Finally, some dried fruit, grapes and olives will complete your cheese board in the highest of style (and taste). Presentation is everything, so make sure you serve everything up as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
Serving Your Cheese Board
Appearances are important, so, to display your cheese (and extras, of course) you’ll want to invest in a quality board. A wooden or slate piece will never go out of style, and leaves you the opportunity to get creative with your food.
Whilst you can never go wrong with some red wine alongside your cheese board, there’s also other options that will still go just as well. A white wine or a glass of fizz may not be the classic choice, but it still tastes just as good.
It may sound surprising, but you can even pair a beer with your cheeses. Try one which isn’t too strong in flavour, a hoppy lager or pale ale is best. A strong beer should only be drank alongside a rich cheese, otherwise it’ll overwhelm the taste.
Wine and beer not for you? A G&T will do perfectly. Whilst unconventional, a gin and tonic goes fantastically with a mild and creamy cheese, and is also light to consume.
Words: Maria Loizou