Written by Hugh Metcalf

Christmas cheeseboard: how to choose the perfect selection

A cheeseboard is a year round treat, but never more exciting than at Christmastime. Here’s how to take yours to the next level, literally.

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Image: Dobbies

The cheeseboard is often the centrepiece of a Christmas buffet spread, so it deserves more than just a few blocks of cheddar on a plate. But how do you up your cheeseboard game if you’re not an expert foodie?

MasterChef finalist Giovanna Ryan has teamed up with Boursin to offer up some expert tips for mastering the cheeseboard, alongside her epic, three-tier vertical cheeseboard.

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Image: Nic Crilly Hargrave 

Pick a theme

We all like a good selection of cheeses, but the way to maximise the taste of your selection without having to buy the whole cheese counter is to pick a theme from the outset. Giovanni suggests concepts such as sweet and salty, French classics and Christmas flavours – in fact, she’s dedicated one tier to each on her vertical cheeseboard. By choosing a geographical region or style of cooking, you’ll be able to easily identify flavours that pair well together, which takes us onto step 2 of our ultimate cheeseboard.

Perfect pairs

The ideal pairing of cheese with condiments and other elements is all about finding balance in your mouth. Soft cheeses are often very creamy and rich, for example, so sweetness and acidity from fruit pairings such as apple and fig are ideal for avoiding a claggy mouthful. Salty cured meats can help make mild-mannered cheeses more boisterous, while sweet touches like honey are ideal for heavily salted cheeses like feta.

Read more: 5 Christmas recipes you can prepare in advance

Also think about the textures of the carbohydrates you include – bread, crackers and biscuits! A nice mix will help add interest to your cheeseboard as a whole.

Embellish your cheese

“Get creative,,” says Giovanni. “Sprinkle, grate, drizzle or scatter your finishing touches, let each tier really come into its own. Utilising different textures by adding herbs, spices, oils and nuts is a great way to add flavour and scent. I used whole almonds and walnuts as well as chopped hazelnuts mixed with rosemary.”

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Image: Luke Arthur Wells

Be inclusive

For a family buffet, make sure you cover everyone’s tastes when it comes to cheese. Mix strong blues with milder tastes, and incorporate vegan cheeses and gluten-free crackers to make sure you’re catering for everyone!

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