While gifts usually take centre stage on Christmas day, food gets a close second place. Whether this is your first year having Christmas lunch at your place or you are a seasoned hostess extraordinaire, you’ve probably been frantically googling, “how to create the perfect cheeseboard” all week long. The first step is: don’t panic. Let’s break it down.
The rule of three’s applies universally, even in cheese. Three different types of cheese is a good place to start. If you have a larger board, or a larger group, increase accordingly. Consider how much cheese your people are likely to eat. Are they cheese freaks? Then plan ahead. For your base three: start with an old faithful, a cheese everyone loves. A classic and mild like cheddar – or brie if your family is French – will satisfy the most reserved members of your party. Second, go with a non-dairy based cheese like goat’s cheese. This covers anyone who has gone dairy-free since the last time you saw them and brings a mild, yet unique option to the table. For the third, choose an experimental cheese. This is your chance to really break the mould (pun-intended) and let your inner cheese-connoisseur out. Try Roquefort, a sheep’s milk blue cheese made from cave bacteria in France, if you’re feeling really edgy.
A sweet, fruity element adds depth to your board and pairs nicely with the savoury cheeses. Of course, the traditional option is quince or other fruit pastes and jams. Go with something different this year by adding fresh fruit like grapes and apple slices. This is also a great way to add colour and vibrancy to your table.
Myrtle chef board, brass cheese knife, flared ecru bowl, large ceramic spoons – black, oil dish, salt dish
Cured meats are always a good option if your crew are omnivores, but for a vegetarian crowd smoked nuts are a great alternative. Sliced tempeh is another veggie twist to try that still adds that smoky flavour you crave from the classics.
Adding infused olive oils and salts to your festive board opens it up to those who don’t like cheese, or can’t have it. Plus, it lets you show off all those special bowls and dishes you just got. Garnish your perfect cheeseboard with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and basil to complete the holiday look (and to combat the smell of the blue cheese).
Something to dip:
There aren’t many rules when it comes to the instruments we use to shovel cheese into our mouths. Make sure to mix it up with crunchy options and soft, as well as something for the gluten free crowd.
This is a loose guide, but you’re well on your way to having the most instagram-worthy cheeseboard this year. All of your friends will be jealous of your #cheeseporn. And, of course, don’t forget the wine. Happy eating!