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Christmas Cheeseboard #2: The Classics

We're going to be highlighting a few cheeseboards over the coming weeks, to give you a little inspiration on the cheeses that could grace your festive table this holiday season.


Our second cheeseboard is all about the Classics - they're classic for a reason! Your guests might think it boring when they sit down, but we're here to show them that even the most familiar cheeses can be exceptional.




Colston Bassett Stilton

Cows, pasturised, vegetarian, Colston Bassett, Nottinghamshire.

The Colston Bassett team are no strangers to tradition: they're the only Stilton maker to hand-ladle the curds into their moulds. The fabulously smooth texture of their cheese is the result, and one of the reasons why this Stilton is a winner year after year.

Very rich, with buttery notes and a tiny bit of barnyard, the richness lets the slightly bitter tang of the veining shine through.

Reach for a tawny port rather than the ruby or LBV, whose heaviness can disrupt the perfect balance of rich and sharp in the cheese. Fruity accompaniments work well, especially stone fruits - Damson fruit for cheese is great, or Sticky Figgy Chutney.


Brie de Meaux Dongé

Cows, raw, traditional rennet, Meuse, France.

The Dongé brothers are the third generation of the family to produce this true classic in the Ile-de-France, near Paris. The dairy was founded in 1930 by Etienne Dongé and, much like the Colston Bassett team, still works by hand to cut and ladle the curds.

A soft, yielding paste has heavy cream flavours, with a mushroomy earthiness from the bloomy rind bringing interest and balance.

Light, crisp whites with a subtle tingle of fizz are great with bloomy-rinded cheeses, cutting through the richness of the paste without overwhelming the lighter flavours. A simple, nutty biscuit is the perfect vessel - look out for seeded crackers or spelt crispbread styles to perfectly compliment the cheese.


Pitchfork Cheddar

Cows, raw, traditional rennet, Hewish, Somerset.

The Trethowan Brothers began cheesemaking in the Welsh Valleys but moved to Somerset to add a Cheddar to their repertoire - with the wonderful (and award-winning!) Pitchfork as the result, we're rather glad they did.

Like all great cheeses, this changes through the seasons, and usually takes on bright, almost tropical fruity acidity in the winter months. Combined with a firm, deeply buttery paste and a gentle musty note from the rind, it creates a wonderfully complex cheese.

Ring the changes with a really great apple juice, cider or pomona with your cheddar. The bold flavours of the cheese stand up well to punchier chutneys too; try our Spiced Tomato and Caramelised Onion Relish or Boxing Day Chutney for a real treat.




Cows, raw, traditional rennet, Inglewhite, Lancashire.


We've long had a soft spot for this very special cheese at the Truckle Truck, for good reason. Produced slowly, over several days, it has a creamy character than many more commercial Lancashires miss. This is a territorial cheese being made the way it used to be and, well, the proof is in the eating!


Buttery and clean, the lactic flavours of the milk shine through this beautiful cheese. It's simple at first, but greater complexity builds with each bite.


Dales cheeses love the daker flavours - to get your guests talking, try serving up an amontillado sherry. Savoury flavours work well too - Seaweed and Sesame Lavosh crackers from Step & Stone are a surprise hit with this one!


Yoredale

Cows, raw, vegetarian, Wensley, Yorkshire.

Born from an experiment between The Courtyard Dairy and three dales cheesemakers, Yoredale is made from a centuries old Wensleydale recipe. Rather than the insipid, dry crumb we've come to expect, this is Wensleydale as it used to be; moist, flaky and full of bright and clean lactic flavours.

Deep, dark flavours work best here; a Malbec or Medoc Bordeaux or that special bottle of LBV you've been saving! Simple accompaniments work nicely; try Red Onion Marmalade or a drop of Morello Cherry Jam to bring a little fruity sweetness.


Creme Chevre

Goat's, raw, traditional rennet, Belp, Switzerland.


Very rich, with buttery notes and a tiny bit of barnyard, the richness lets the slightly bitter tang of the veining shine through.

Reach for a tawny port rather than the ruby or LBV, whose heaviness can disrupt the perfect balance of rich and sharp in the cheese. Fruity accompaniments work well, especially stone fruits - Damson fruit for cheese is great, or Sticky Figgy Chutney.

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