Savouring great cheese can and should be a year-round thing (if you ask me), just like in the French tradition. However, it appears that in Britain, cheese takes center stage only during the festive Christmas season. So if that's the case in your household, let's make it is nothing short of spectacular!
While timeless classics like Brie de Meaux, farmhouse cheddar, and Stilton never fail to impress on any cheeseboard, I'm here to elevate your Christmas cheeseboard experience with some unique and off-the-beaten-track recommendations.
How many cheeses to serve
Before we delve into the specifics, let's consider the number of cheeses you plan to serve. I believe that a cheeseboard with fewer than three cheeses doesn't quite live up to the name. To truly impress and create a memorable cheeseboard, consider opting for four or five cheeses. This way, you can showcase a wider variety of cheese types, including different milks, textures, flavors, and aromas.
So, without further ado, allow me to present...
The Cheese Lady's 2023 Christmas Cheeseboard
Delice d'Argental with Truffle: This soft cow's milk cheese offers a delightful twist. Enriched with crème fraiche during the cheesemaking process, it boasts a luxuriously buttery texture and a touch of black truffle. A true indulgence for discerning cheese lovers, especially when paired with a glass of champagne.
Rachel: A crowd-pleasing gouda-style cheese that will make you fall in love with goat's milk cheeses. Hailing from White Lake Cheese Co., this semi-firm goat's cheese with a washed rind undergoes a process similar to gouda production, resulting in an elegant and mellow flavour with subtle nutty notes and a hint of citrus zest.
Challerhocker: This artisan cheese from the Swiss Alps is a hidden gem. Challerhocker, which means "sitting in the cellar," is crafted from raw cow's milk and matured for over 10 months. It embodies the Alpine style of cheesemaking perfectly — nutty, buttery, smooth, complex, and featuring occasional protein crystals for a delightful crunch.
Corra Linn: Among the most sought-after Scottish farmhouse cheeses today, Corra Linn is a firm cheddar-style cheese made by hand from raw Lacaune sheep milk. Matured for a minimum of 12 months, it offers a firm and crumbly texture, with pleasing nutty and earthy notes in its flavour profile.
Stichelton: Elevate your blue choice this year with Stichelton, the most authentic British blue cheese available. Made with raw milk, like in days gone by, it boasts a buttery creamy texture and a complex flavour profile that's toasty, malty, and mildly sweet. Raw cow's milk lends it a taste complexity that lingers and evolves beautifully.
Perfect drinks and condiments
Now, let's turn our attention to wine. For truly special occasions, nothing beats proper champagne. My top picks for this cheeseboard are Brillecart-Salmon Rose and Colin Blanc de Blancs. If you prefer still wine, consider medium-bodied whites like Grillo or a white Burgundy, or for reds, Fabulas Montepulciano d'Abruzzo or a classic Rioja.
Don't overlook the condiments to complete your cheese experience. Grapes and unflavored crackers, such as Millers Buttermilk Damsels, remain timeless accompaniments, perfect for palate cleansing. If you wish to venture further, add some Spanish membrillo and Toast for Cheese. Condiments are often based on personal preferences, so feel free to explore and make them your own.
I hope you find my recommendations enjoyable and have a wonderfully delicious Christmas celebration with your loved ones!
The Cheese Lady x