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Christmas cheese board

(29 Posts)
happysmiley Mon 08-Nov-10 15:27:37

This year I've decided to do a proper cheese board. Normally we just have some stilton for FIL and wensleydale with cranberries for DH and it's a bit of an afterthought rather than part of the main event.

However, this year we have invited friends who love cheese. They always do a fantastic cheeseboard when we go to them. Interestingly it's not the cheeses that are memorable (although they are very good) but the random things they serve with them. Last time we had honey with our cheese which was delicious.

So looking for inspiration for an amazing festive cheeseboard. Any ideas?

sweetheart Mon 08-Nov-10 15:34:34

ours isn't especially amazing but I would put on it

stilton, brie, roule, edam, wensleydale, some mozerella balls in basil oil and pate

olives, grapes, celery, apple, caramalised red onion cutney, and peppers or chilli's stuffed with cream cheese

sweetheart Mon 08-Nov-10 15:36:58

good advice?

happysmiley Mon 08-Nov-10 15:51:31

Thanks, there's plenty of ideas there to think about.

With the apples, do you slice yours? I tend to find that if you put whole fruit out nobody touches it, but if you slice apple/pear, it goes brown so never sure what to do.

Gemjar Mon 08-Nov-10 16:03:26

As for the cheese, the actual cheeses changes year to year, but always includes the following

- a hard cheese (i.e a good Lancashire as it's where we live, or Manchego for something different)
- a soft cheese such as Roule or Bel Paese
- a rinded cheese such as Brie
- a blue cheese (my favourite is Dolcelatte)

All the sundries depend on what I can be bothered to do, but it is vital that there is very good crackers and very good bread to go with it

My Dad used to run a delicatessen, and knows a great deal about cheese, so if stuck for ideas he is a great help - if you have a deli near you ask them for advise, if they are any good at all then the should be able to suggest lots of cheese board ideas

sweetheart Mon 08-Nov-10 16:06:49

if you slice up your apples squeeze a bit of lemon juice over them to stop them going brown.

happysmiley Mon 08-Nov-10 17:28:10

Thanks for the tip gemjar, we have a very good deli just across the road and they have a great cheese selection so will definitely try asking there.

sweetheart, doh, lemon, why didn't I think of that!

taffetacat Mon 08-Nov-10 18:53:48

I like just a few very good cheeses - a creamy blue one, a strong hard one and maybe a milder nutty one.

I like it with lots of bits - celery, oh I love celery. Very good grapes - preferably black Muscat ones. Nuts - walnuts especially good. A few homemade chutneys.

I like very plain crackers with my cheese, like Carrs water biscuits.

theevildead2 Mon 08-Nov-10 18:55:10

Humbug to the lot of you.

*^pregnant over christmas^

BelligerentGhoul Mon 08-Nov-10 19:23:27

Rick Stein's seasalt oatcakes from Waitrose are gorgeous.

Oh and yes, yes, yes to celery - God, I love celery.

twirlymum Mon 08-Nov-10 19:38:32

Wensleydale with cranberries is lovely. Mmmm want some now....grin

slhilly Mon 08-Nov-10 19:46:10

Vacherin is a classic Xmas cheese
Quince jam (membrillo) is fab
Oatcakes are great

theevildead2, what I always heard was that high acidity levels were what made cheese safe, so that eg a hard unpasteurised cheddar like Keens was fine.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Mon 08-Nov-10 19:55:23

Oh God, this thread is like porn and it has got me salivating.

Am pregnant at the mo and will be over Christmas so I'm scouring the shelves for pasturised cheeses.

Anyway, enough of my selfish wittering.

Brie - ripe and stinking.
Stilton - creamy, not sharp. Cropwell Bishop is always reliable.
Strong Cheddar - Cheddar Gorge is THE best.
A baked camembert always goes down well.
Anything else that takes your fancy, try new things as it's the only way to find new and wonderful cheeses.

A good crusty french stick
Selection of bicuits - Carrs & Fudges are the best.
Butter - not marg, although I don't think it's necessary, but lots of people like it.
Pate
Grapes
Apple
Pear
Celery - in a celery vase a la Nigella!
Selection of cured meats can be nice on the side.

theevildead2 Mon 08-Nov-10 19:59:04

Thanks slhilly, but if doesn't stink I'm not interested. Smelly lovely French cheeses...

PaulineMole Mon 08-Nov-10 20:04:00

colston basset stilton
mrs. kirkhams lancashire
soft goats cheese - maybe ragstone?

wheat wafers and some bath olivers, with quince jelly, and maybe apple chutney

tb Mon 08-Nov-10 20:10:53

The small round goats' cheeses are often served with honey here, or wrapped in air-dried ham. I've also had a slice of goats' cheese log drizzled with olive oil and coarsely ground black pepper. For fruit, figs are another possibility.

Crazycatlady Mon 08-Nov-10 20:29:00

oooh Christmas cheeseboard, my favourite...

- Montgomery cheddar
- Stichelton
- Robiola
- Coulea

Served with plain oatcakes and homemade plum chutney.

Serve with port or a sweet white dessert wine. Yum...

Crazycatlady Mon 08-Nov-10 20:30:17

If you can get hold of a fig cake this also goes really, really well with stinky soft cheese.

Manchego and mebrillo also lovely, but not really a Christmas cheeseboard thing IMO.

BelligerentGhoul Mon 08-Nov-10 21:19:41

Yes, yes to figs.

happysmiley Mon 08-Nov-10 21:39:56

Ooh, lots of lovely ideas.

I love figs so will definitely use them. What is a fig cake and where would I find one?

Crazycatlady Tue 09-Nov-10 10:45:37

Here's a recipe for fig cake. It's really easy. It's not really a cake as there is no flour, egg or baking involved. It's more a layering of dried figs, almonds and spices made into a cake shape and then you just serve a small slice of it with cheese and some honey. It's often served with the cheese board in french or spanish restaurants and is totally yummy.

Fig cake

14oz dried figs – use a mixture of varieties, try to source soft ones!

50ml honey

2 tbsp sesame seeds

½ tsp ground star anise

100g whole unblanched almonds

2 tsp finely chopped rosemary

Line a small loaf tin or round mould with cling film, leaving an overhang to cover the top. Set aside.

Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a small pan until just golden, then combine with the anise powder and set aside. Slice the figs vertically in half.

Press a solid layer of the figs on to the bottom of the mould, cut-side down. Sprinkle the figs with a heaped tablespoon of the seed mixture and drizzle about 2 tsp honey over the top.

Sprinkle half the rosemary over the top. Cover with another layer of fig slices, followed by 1 tbsp of seeds, then 2 more tsp of honey. Press half of the almonds over the figs, then drizzle another 2 tsp of honey over the nuts.

Add another layer of figs, followed by more seeds, then honey, the remaining rosemary and almonds.

Finally, top with a last layer of figs, cut-side down

Cover with the cling film, then cut a piece of cardboard to fit neatly inside the top of the mould.

Press down with weights for at least 2 hours – ideally overnight.

Serve with cheese.

Dorothyredboots Tue 09-Nov-10 12:00:08

I serve homemade caramelised walnuts on my cheeseboard. I try to get local cheeses which means Wensleydale etc as we are Tykes, although I have to have Stilton as well as Yorkshire Blue. Try to get interesting biscuits for the poncetastic guests and ordinary crackers for DH grin.

grottielottie Tue 09-Nov-10 12:42:23

I second the Membrillo, (quince paste) with soft cheeses like bree. It can be found is a little stout jar in Sanisburys speciality food section.

Also remember to take the cheese out of the fridge and bring to room temp for a while before to get the most out of the flavor.

jenk1 Tue 09-Nov-10 16:27:56

fruitcake goes lovely with a crumbly lancashire cheese,had it at bettys in harrogate a few years ago twas gorgeous!

happysmiley Tue 09-Nov-10 18:23:40

Fruitcake sounds very interesting. And a perfect excuse to push Xmas cake onto everyone, ensuring it doesn't go uneaten. Does it go with other types of cheese at all?

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