Arguably, the finest of traditional blue cheeses need no enhancement, but if you enjoy the extra dimension that a sweet chutney can bring to Stilton or the earthy crunch that a walnut can impart to Gorgonzola, then it might be worth considering some more unusual partners for your Christmas Blues.
Cherries in Kirsch are often one of those things that get gifted at this time of year, usually in a hamper. Fairly frequently, they get placed at the back of the kitchen cupboard after the festivities cease, as nobody is very sure what to actually do with them. Well, hide those cherries no more! Try pairing them with a creamy blue cheese and you will never look back. Our favourite is the combination of Beauvale and Cherries in Kirsch. Beauvale is a soft, slightly salty blue made by Cropwell Bishop Creamery in Nottinghamshire. It is based on a Gorgonzola recipe and its savoury flavour works a treat with the sweet, tangy flavours of the cherry. If you are after an easy canape for a party, try pairing the two on top of our Apricot, Date & Sunflower Seed Cracker Bakes. Delicious!
Roquefort, that inimitable strong and salty blue from the caves of the Aveyron can take a fairly sweet counterpart. We would always recommend washing it down with a beautiful, gently acidic desert wine such as Monbazillac, but in addition, try it with a dollop of Creamed Honey with Walnuts. Made by a beekeeper in the Ariège region of South France where bees access the vast variety of wild flowers which grow on the Pyrenees, the honey has an incomparable floral flavour. Mixed with finely chopped walnuts, the honey adds a satisfying bite to the creamy cheese.
Possibly one of the more controversial foods which comes out during party season is the Pickled Walnut. The nuts are pickled in their green coats while still young, and before the shell has formed, meaning they are not hard inside as you might expect. Their flavour and texture either have people running for the hills or rubbing their hands together in gleeful anticipation. However, if you are one of the latter, or even if you have never tried them and are openminded enough to give them a go, you must try a thin slice with a mouthful of creamy Stilton. The tartness of the walnut coupled with the dense savoury richness of good Stilton is an absolute winner, and the perfect end to a Christmas meal.