While our customers are always keen to explore new and different cheeses throughout the year, come Christmas we find they are more traditional in their choices. We sell large quantities of our top-selling Stilton, Cheddar (be it Montgomery’s, Westcombe or our own Paxton’s Cave Aged) and Brie de Meaux or Mont d’Or.
However, if you want to ring the changes and create a festive cheeseboard with a twist, it’s time to explore other cheeses which are also particularly good at this time of year.
Twists on the traditional cheeseboard favourites
Stilton, Brie and Cheddar work well at Christmas because they allow you to give your guests a range of hard, soft and blue cheeses, so something delicious for everyone. We suggest you maintain the hard/soft/blue combination, but consider using some less familiar cheeses and then add one more unusual cheese to finish your selection.
Our Paxton & Whitfield Cave Aged Cheddar is a real treat. Good alternatives include the Barwheys, a handmade cheese with a full bodied, smooth and complex flavour which is made in Scotland. You may also like the Beaufort PDO. This divine cheese is subject to 20 hours of pressing during its creation before it is matured for at least five months, during which it is salted, scraped and turned twice a week, in humid caves located in the French Alps.
Instead of Stilton, opt for Crozier or Beauvale. Beauvale has a full flavour which is predominantly savoury, with a delicious hint of spice. It has a firm texture when young and begins to break down as it ages, developing an irresistibly runny centre. Crozier Blue is a ewes’ milk blue, an award-winning cheese made in Southern Ireland and features a smooth and creamy flavour that is not overpowering, with a pleasant saltiness and some nutty notes.
While Brie de Meaux is utterly delicious you may like to try Golden Cenarth or Camember De Normandie. Golden Cenarth is a delightful soft washed rind cheese with a tasty buttery flavour and supple texture. It’s made in Wales and won the Best Welsh Cheese and Best Semi-Soft Cheese at the British Cheese Awards 2016. Camembert is an iconic cheese and one which makes a welcome appearance on any festive cheeseboard.
The highlight cheese
For a highlight cheese, you’re looking for visual appeal as well as taste. Take a look at the Bosworth Ash Log. This is a goat’s cheese with an exceptionally soft and fragile taste and texture. It’s particularly attractive on a Christmas cheeseboard as it’s log-shaped and rolled in French salted ash beneath which lies a layer of white rind. You’ll discover an attractive jagged grey circumference when you slice it. You may also like the Etoile de Gatine, an attractive star-shaped cheese made from goats’ milk.
Finally, if you want a centrepiece which will surprise and delight your guests, try our fabulous Drunken Fourme d’Ambert pack – it contains a recipe card with instructions, half a Fourme d’Ambert PDO, a bottle of Paxton & Whitfield Monbazillac and Cornish Buttermilk Biscuits – everyone will be talking about how you did this!
Presenting your cheeseboard
A good presentation helps to make your cheeseboard look more appetising. We have a delightful selection of cheese platters and plates of all sizes as well as high quality cheese knives for soft and hard cheeses. You could serve some delicious cheese biscuits or savoury chutneys and preserves alongside your cheese selection, as well as fresh grapes, dried apricots or nuts.
Storing your Christmas cheese
When choosing cheese for Christmas it’s always best to buy whole cheeses or large wedges as these will keep better over the festive period as smaller pieces of cut cheese can have a tendency to dry out and lose condition. Try to keep your cheeses wrapped in their original packaging.
What drinks to serve with your cheese?
Most people drink red wine or port with their Christmas cheeseboard but there are so many other options. Blue cheese goes very well with a sweet wine, like a Monbazillac,while a white Burgundy is a good wine to serve with a selection of cheeses as it has good flavour/body that won’t dominate the palate.
You can buy cheese for your Christmas cheeseboard on our website or by visiting your nearest Paxton & Whitfield store. You may also like to browse our wonderful selection of Christmas cheese gifts and luxury Christmas cheese hampers while you’re there!