Let’s get cheesy
No, not panto - we're talking the ultimate cheeseboard for Christmas. Every house should have one! Here's our guide to getting it right, thanks to the cheesemongers at Partisan Deli.
Christmas is fast approaching and whilst many will be worrying about their turkey and accompaniments, a significant proportion of us will be thinking about the real main event of the day – the cheese.
Never has there been so much choice for the consumer and with new cheesemakers popping up across the country it can be a daunting task selecting the perfect Christmas board. There are a few basic principles that help shape a successful cheeseboard.
Firstly, we advise that fewer cheeses in larger quantities look and feel more dramatic and plentiful on a cheeseboard, anything smaller than a 200g block may appear a bit modest. Depending on numbers aim for 3-5 cheeses.
Secondly, it is important to get a good mixture of textures, styles and strengths of flavour to create some balance and cater for the full range of tastes. As a core, you will want a hard, a soft and a blue. You can then add more interesting goats/ewes milk or washed rind cheeses as tastes allow.
Thirdly, know what you are buying. There is a great deal of difference between an unpasteurised clothbound farmhouse cheddar and the factory produced alternative. Ask your cheesemonger the story of the cheese you are buying. A good cheesemonger will know the providence of what they are selling.
Finally, don’t run out! Think about when you will be serving the cheese and how many sittings you want it to sustain. After the grand festive feast a serving of as little of 60-70g per person will suffice, whilst a board to graze over for a few hours on Boxing Day will easily need 125-150g. Also, think about making cheese the main event at other key points. For example, Christmas Eve with a baked Winslade – an amazing camembert/Vacherin Mont d’Or cross – some crusty bread and a bottle of red is an unforgettable treat.
For the cheeseboard for the big day, here are some Partisan suggestions:
Old Winchester – beautifully strong, hard cheese from the New Forest. Aged for 18 months it becomes crystalline and crumbly whilst also developing a cheddar style twang.
Tunworth – A Camembert style from Hampshire with a rich earthy, mushroom like aroma with a sweet and nutty flavour. Famously described by Raymond Blanc as the best Camembert in the world…
Perl Las – A creamy, pungent blue cows milk cheese made in West Wales. Think half way between Stilton and Roquefort – perfect.
Driftwood – Unpasteurised goats cheese from the Somerset Levels. Rich and complex with a clean goaty flavour this lightly ash coated goat log is a perfectly balanced cheese.
Red Wine Farmer – For a tasty, tipsy twist this Christmas you have to try this wine-washed Gruyere. With all the flavour of a Gruyere with the added punch of the wine-washed rind is sure to tang up any cheeseboard.
Maida Vale – Made in Berkshire and made with milk from Jersey cows and then washed in tribute ale – Made of Ale! Creamy, pungent and luxurious!
Truffled Brie – Silky, ripe Brie de Meaux enhanced with pungent and earthy minced black truffles. Made in-house at Partisan and like all the cheeses mentioned here, delivered to your door in time for Christmas.
Team this selection up with top drawer crackers, oatcakes and a great allrounder chutney (we love our local Griggs Green Festive Chutney). Sprinkle with some walnuts and top off with some moscato nectar or fine local honey. No enjoy!
Partisan Deli, 14a Chapel Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3UL