If you’re racking your brains trying to think of the perfect gift for a friend, relative or colleague this Christmas, a cheese hamper could be the perfect solution.  They look good, taste amazing and the contents can be hand-picked to make a truly tailored and personalised gift.

We’ve compiled a wonderful range of ready-made Christmas cheese hampers to suit all tastes and budgets. You can see them here in the Christmas Cheese section of our website.  But if you’d prefer to compile your own hamper, here’s our guide to help you choose the right combination of cheese and fine foods.

Wooden crate

Choosing the right box

Begin by choosing the right box for the size of hamper you wish to create.  Visit our Gift Boxes section and choose a beautiful Paxton & Whitfield branded box or crate for your cheese.  We have two sizes of quality cardboard box.  The Selected For You box in Cheddar Yellow or Stilton Blue is just £3.25 and our very stylish cream Large Gift box at £6.50. Our new rustic Paxton’s Wooden Gift Crate is £16 and has the added bonus of being used as a planter or storage box afterwards. You may also like our traditional wooden lidded hamper boxes, available in large and small.

 Choosing the right cheese for your hamper

The sheer number of cheese varieties now available can be slightly overwhelming – where do you start?  Well, for a cheese hamper we suggest that you keep it relatively simple with no more than three or four cheeses, as this will allow you to include larger cheeses which will keep better over the festive season.  (Our eyes are always bigger than our tummies at this time of year, so having lots of smaller pieces can mean the cheese will dry out before anyone is ready to eat it.)

Old favourites are the safest bet - try to combine hard, soft and blue cheeses and go for whole cheeses which are cloth-bound or wrapped in wax paper as these will keep better.

Hard cheese - we would recommend including a Cheddar, such as Cheddar Truckle and Cheddar Pounder, both of which are beautifully matured.  For something a little different you may like to include the Cheddar Smoked Ceodre or Dorset Goat for its clean, mellow flavour.

Soft cheese – try the Coulommiers or the Mont d’Or for the ultimate in creamy, complex flavours. 

Blue cheese – our recommendation would have to be Stilton, surely the King of British cheese.  For gifts there are lots of great options – take a look at the Stilton Baby, the Stilton Waxed Mini and our Stilton Jars which make a lovely addition to a luxury cheese hamper.


Choosing the right biscuits and crackers

There’s a place for ordinary biscuits which don’t interfere with the flavour of a cheese but a hamper gift definitely calls for something out of the ordinary.  Our Oaties range, particularly Oaties Walnut and Oaties and Celery, will fit the bill.  You might also like to include some lovely Apricot, Date and Sunflower Seed Cracker Bakes which are very tasty and complement a variety of cheeses.  Our new Rosemary Wafer is great with Cheddar and the new Cornish Buttermilk Biscuits will go perfectly with blue cheeses.

Fine food accompaniments

No hamper would be complete without a selection of savoury chutneys and preserves. These make a cheeseboard or cheese supper feel like a very special treat and should help to enhance the flavours of the cheese.  Plus, they can be kept in the larder for a treat in the New Year.

A Christmas cheese hamper is the perfect place for our wintery range, like Nuts about Chestnuts, a sweet and aromatic paste with orange zest and walnuts.  Another choice for the Christmas season is our fruity Spiced Plum Chutney which is made using delicious Lake District plums, juicy raisins and English apples.

You may also like to include our Really Proper Piccalilli Orcio Jar as it works well with both the cheese and with leftover turkey.  It comes in an attractive jar so makes a lovely gift.

Snacks at the ready

Christmas is a good excuse for snacking so be sure to include some Shropshire Blue and Onion Cheese Squares or Cheddar and Mustard Cheese Squares – they’re utterly delicious and very moreish!

A little tipple for the finishing touch

For a special treat, add a bottle of Paxton Vintage Port which is perfect with the Stilton.  For beer-fans and to accompany the Cheddar, try the Ale No 93.  If you want to include wine, go for the Monbazillac, it’s a particularly good choice to go with blue cheese as the sweetness complements the saltiness, making the perfect pairing.

Add at Paxton & Whitfield Chocolate Bauble or some Mulling Syrup for a memorable finishing touch.