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Christmas British cheese boards

Article by: Jonathan Broomfield and Genevieve Robison  |  Picture by: Genevieve Robison
Christmas British cheese boards
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In our efforts to champion British cheeses, we have collaborated with British Cheese Specialist Jonathan Broomfield to develop four exquisite all-British cheese boards to suit whatever menu or gathering you have in mind for Christmas this year. Ranging from informal to formal, budget to no budget, you will be sure to find what you are looking for here. By having the cheese descriptions you can feel confident to have fun and mix and match a little to suit your taste.

Budgets usually go out of the window at Christmas time, intentionally or unintentionally, so below follows two no-budget, decadent, well balanced boards with cost playing a minor role - the first board is perfect to follow an informal yet highly elegant menu. Our second no budget board is for anyone who is, or likes to be, lord or lady of the manor on Christmas day. Formal, elegant and classic, we suggest serving goose to precede this board.
No budget: informal board

Best following fish, such as a delicious whole baked salmon.

Cheddar: Wookey Hole Cheddar
Because this lovely Mature cheese is cave aged it has a nuttiness with a salty edge. The finish of the this cheese is creamy with a buttery texture.

Blue: Cornish Blue
This mild, creamy blue is not as strong as a Stilton. Rather, it has a gentle mould flavour that will please both blue cheese fans and beginners.

Soft: Godminster Brie
An organic cheese with mushroom notes and a creamy edge. Stronger when ripe and with a hint of grass. Less strong when weak and a good beginners brie.

Additive / flavoured: Wensleydale and Cranberries
Yorkshire Wensleydale is vegetarian and just made to be with fruits and this is no exception. The mild grainy texture of the cheese with the milkiness means that with the sweet cranberries they complement each other beautifully.

Other milk/cheese: Capricorn Goat's or Gevrik Goat's Cheese (vegetarian)
A mild, soft goat’s cheese with a creamy edge and light texture. It has a fluffy rind like a rind. Replace with the Gevrik for vegetarian diets.
No budget: formal board

A classic and formal cheese board, best following roast goose.

Cheddar: Keens Cheddar
A lovingly made vintage Cheddar. The rustic and wholesome charm comes through in the flavour with a punchy salty and sweet flavour. This is the cheese connoisseur’s Cheddar.

Blue: Colston Bassett Stilton
The traditional and handmade nature of this cheese results in a golden coloured cheese that is smooth and buttery, yet not too overpowering in its strength.

Soft: Stinking Bishop
The pungent yet hunger inducing smell of this cheese can turn anyone into a cheese fan. Washed in Perry Pear Cider with a rich, sweet and mild paste makes it lovely and supple.

Additive / Flavoured: Lyburn Lightly Oak Smoked
Locally produced to perfection in The New Forest, Hampshire this mellow, pleasant flavoured cheese is similar to a young Pecorino with a nice salty crunch and is not too strong like many smoked cheeses.

Other milk cheese: Cornish Yarg
A showstopper cheese for a cheese board. This cheese is hand wrapped with nettles and looks stunning. Once you get over the fact you're going to have to cut it, you're rewarded with a mellow and young, milky and creamy flavour with a slightly crumbly texture.
Expert tip:
"This cheese can be enjoyed with pears or a robust red wine. A Pinot Noir matches very well with Stinking Bishop." -Jonathan Broomfield, Cheese Specialist
Sometimes needs must, even at Christmas, so for those watching the pennies we have developed two cheese boards bursting with flavour and fantastic value for money. If you are looking for an all-vegetarian board our informal cheese board has you covered.
Budget: informal board

A versatile board with vegetarian options, best following beef or a vegetarian nut roast.

Cheddar: Tickler
A punchy vegetarian cheese that 'does what it says on the tin' by tickling your palate. With a good salty crunch it also lends itself for cooking as it holds its flavour well.

Blue: Yorkshire Blue
A vegetarian smooth, soft cheese with a mild hint of blue. A great blue for those new to the taste.

Soft: Llawnroc Brie or Somerset Camembert
This Cornish brie is mild and creamy. It develops a softer texture when riper and turns stronger. Replace with the Somerset Camembert for vegetarian diets.

Additive / flavoured: Cropwell White Stilton with Date and Orange
A white Stilton with a mild sweet and fruity taste. This cheese is sweeter than normal but the bitterness of the orange counteracts this.

Other milk cheese: Stoney Cross
This cheese is mild and light like a Caerphilly, but is smooth and creamy with a subtle backnote of strength.
Expert tip
"Cut the Tickler cheese into a triangular wedge for a better cheeseboard appearance." -Jonathan Broomfield, Cheese Specialist
Budget: formal board

A formal board on a budget, best following roast turkey.

Cheddar: Denhay Mature
The traditional mature Cheddar is unfortunately in final production. Made in Dorset, the creamery is closing in 2014, so put this on your cheese board this year to really give it a send off it deserves.

Blue: Long Clawson Stilton
This is stronger than a typical strong Stilton yet again with a creamy edge. It's all about the blue here so this will please the blue cheese lovers.

Soft: St Endellion Brie
Smooth and firm when young. This is a very creamy and indulgent cheese. It has a flavour which is full and long lasting.

Additive / flavoured: Thomas Hoe Stevenson Aged Leicestershire Red
A surprising Red Leicester. Aged for approximately 6 months it develops a hard rind. With a nutty, sweet caramel (almost toffee) flavour and finish.

Other milk cheese: Kit Calvert Wensleydale
This handmade cheese with a buttery texture and creamy flavour. Sweeter than the original Wensleydale but its flavour is beautiful.
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