One of my favourite parts of the Christmas/New Year season is cheese. Throw a few crackers and nice sweaty piece of Stilton in my direction and I’m a happy girl – particularly as my dear friend makes a corking chutney to go with it.
Port Salut – makers of a pretty damn fine cheese – have teamed up with cheese expert and founder of Jeroboams – London’s finest wine and cheese shop, Juliet Harbutt, to produce some tips and tricks to set your New Year’s cheeseboard up with a bit more flair this festive season. With over 25 years experience in the cheese business, here are Juliet’s top ten tips for pulling together a show-stopping centre piece.
Ten Tips for the New Year’s Eve Cheeseboard
• A slate or marble cheeseboard, decorated with a few autumnal leaves and berries is great for making a lasting impression
• Ideally a cheeseboard should include five to ten cheese from the seven different types, but don’t over cater – allow approximately 75-
100g per person
• Offer a range of shapes – logs, wedges, cylinders, squares – and cut blocks of cheese into different shapes for an attractive finish
• Try to provide a separate knife for each type of cheese so that more guests can help themselves at once and there is less cross contamination of flavours
• Ideally buy cheeses you have tasted and had cut at the deli from the original cheese, or buy pre-pack cheeses as near to their best before date as possible for the best taste
• Before serving ensure all the cheeses have come to room temperature – a slither will take 5 minutes and whole Brie will take at least an hour so best to serve similar sized portions
• If you are lucky enough to have a whole or half Stilton don’t pour Port into it; rather than adding to the taste of either, it is an old tradition used for style not taste
• Ideal accompaniments to the cheeseboard include: oat cakes, rustic breads, pickled walnuts, savoury, mildly spiced chutneys, mixed nuts, dried fruit or fresh apples or pears
• As well as wine, beer & cider also go very well with most types of cheese so encourage guests to have fun experimenting with their pairings
Visit the Port Salut website for Juliet’s downloadable cheese guide, listing all her cheese recommendations for the perfect dinner party cheese board.