The perfect Christmas cheeseboard

The perfect Christmas cheeseboard

Are you feeling it yet? I am… the frosty mornings, Christmas adverts (John Lewis just released theirs today), made for TV Christmas films on Channel 5 every day (I fully intend to sit down and watch one with a hot chocolate – pure guilty pleasure!). There are officially 44 days until Christmas Day. But then I think Christmas unofficially starts in December, so I am saying it’s more like 20. Now is a great time to start planning, if you haven’t already. We haven’t yet – but this post has got my mind whirring away! What are we getting the kids? What we are doing for the actual day? Are we having people over for a party at any point? All of it is now up for discussion – and, finally, you will not sound slightly mad and premature (I get a lot of eye rolling when I start talking about it in September…). Hoorah!

Party-wise, whatever you are doing, whether you are having mates over, or family – chances are a cheeseboard will feature at some point. It’s so Christmassy, but also it’s easy – and you’ve got to love an easy option at what can be a very busy and stressful time. You buy the cheese, then make a couple of easy things alongside to enjoy with it, a like a punchy chutney (below) or breadsticks (also below) – these give a homemade vibe with very little stress. Also, you could enjoy this for 2 people or with not much more work scale it up for many more (some cold cuts, a pork pie, some smoked salmon perhaps).

We are having a really quiet, family Christmas this year (first ever in our own home with no guests!) so I imagine we will be eating a cheeseboard like this on Christmas Eve just before we sit down to watch The Snowman – arguably the best moment of the whole of Christmas. Also likely is that a Boxing Day walk will feature with family, and I know for a fact that it will be followed by a buffet featuring a cheeseboard. That’s what Christmas is all about really isn’t it? Feasting on great food and spending time with loved ones. Little rituals that we turn to again and again.

So now you know what I like with cheddar, a punchy-homemade-ideally-chutney – but what do you guys pair with cheddar? My Nana always has fruitcake with it, which is gorgeous! Maybe it’s something unusual like lime pickle which my Mother in Law loves! Or are you a Branston pickle person, like Adam? Will you be making a cheeseboard this Christmas? Let me know! I always love to hear from you…

In the meantime, here are my personal tips for a perfect Christmas cheeseboard…

  1. Stick to maximum of 4 cheeses. A good strong, mature cheddar is the most essential component. Davidstow sent me two of their cheddars: a Davidstow 3 year Old Vintage Reserve Cheddar and Davidstow 18 Month Extra Mature. These are seriously good, zingy and delicious. Both are perfect for a cheeseboard. Then choose a blue cheese, like Stilton. A creamy mild cheese, like Brie is always popular – make sure you buy this in advance so it is ripe (you can tell by how oozy it is!). A crumbly Cheshire is the other essential.
  2. Don’t put all the cheese out, or they may spoil. Cut enough to eat and top up when needed. Equally, don’t throw leftover bits. Make a cauliflower and broccoli cheese soup and throw the leftovers in.
  3. A small selection of crackers is sufficient. I find 2 different types are enough, as it’s about the cheese.
  4. A punchy chutney or relish is essential. Try making my Beetroot and Orange chutney, below. The recipe makes 12 jars so give the rest as gifts.
  5. Make some cheddar breadsticks to go alongside, they are so easy and will satisfy any kids that are eating with you who may not appreciate the strong cheeses and punchy chutneys! My recipe is below. Make them up until the cooking stage and freeze before Christmas then defrost on the morning you want them and cook just before you need them as they are delicious warm from the oven.

Davidstow®’s 3 Year Vintage Reserve is available exclusively from Ocado and Davidstow® 18 Month Extra Mature is available from Tesco Extra, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons & Ocado.

Beetroot and orange chutney

Beetroot and orange chutney

Makes: 12 jars

Takes: 2 hours approx

Ingredients:

  • 1250g cooked beetroot, diced
  • 3 oranges, zest and juice
  • 3 apples, peeled and diced
  • 3 onions, peeled and diced
  • 500ml red wine vinegar
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes

Instructions:

  1. Pop everything in a pan and cook for about 2 hours, until it’s all soft and syrupy.
  2. Sterilise jars and pop hot chutney into them. Store in cool, dark place – in a fridge once open. Will keep for about a year.

Cheddar straws

Cheddar cheese straws

Makes 12 straws

Takes: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 300g puff pastry (I used the ready rolled sheets which are perfect)
  • 100g mature cheddar cheese (like Davidstow Reserve), grated
  • 1 beaten egg
  • A little plain flour, for dusting

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Dust worktop with flour lightly. Roll out or place the pastry rectangle on the floured top.
  3. Brush lightly with egg. Scatter half of the cheese over the rectangle, then press down to sink it in a bit.
  4. Turn it over. Do the same on the other side.
  5. Cut 3 cm strips, width-wise, to create 12 strips. Twist each one and lay on the lined trays. Bake for 10 minutes.

Davidstow reserve cheddar with cheeseboard

This is a sponsored post for Davidstow. All opinions are my own. All links to Davidstow are no follow.

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