There are some cheeses that are particularly good around Christmas and they should feature on your Christmas cheeseboard. We'll show you the best festive cheeses and tell you a little about why they are so good at this time of year.
Stilton - Stilton is synonymous with Christmas and there's nothing like finishing your Christmas Dinner with a little bit of stilton and a lovely glass of port. So where did the tradition of having Stilton at Christmas come from? Well we can tell you that it's just really a question of timing! Stilton is at it's best when it's made from the milk produced at the end of the summer when the cows feed on the lush grasses, which leads to superior milk. The Stilton made with this milk is then matured for a few months and the time it reaches optimum maturity just so happens to be around Christmas.
Vacherin Mont d'Or - This is a seasonal cheese from France & Switzerland that is hugely popular around Christmas. It's only available from October through to February which makes it more of a treat. It's a fairly runny cheese at room temperature but bake it for 15 minutes and it becomes a delicious gooey delight that's crying out to be dipped into. It's only available during winter months when the Alpine pastures on which the cows graze become too cold and the cows are brought down and fed indoors until Winter passes.
Langres - This is another popular Christmas cheese, largely for how it looks (orange and wrinkly!), although it also tastes amazing. From the same region as Epoisses, Langres is milder and has more of a fudgy texture. Definitely one of our favourite cheeses and we wouldn't have a Christmas cheeseboard without one. Absolutely great with a glass of champagne.
Comte (Aged 24 months) - Comté is a hugely popular cheese and we've not met many people that don't like it. It varies hugely in quality though, so we suggest always buying Comté with a green cowbell label around the outside. We also prefer those that have been aged a little longer, such as 24 or 30 months, although we have come across some aged for 12 months that have been absolutely fantastic.
Beauvale - Best described as a cross between Stilton and Gorgonzola, Beauvale, by Cropwell Bishop Creamery, has all the rich buttery flavours of Stilton, but the soft, almost spreadable qualities of Gorgonzola Dolce. It's a real treat on a cheeseboard although we have to warn you, once you start you'll find it difficult to stop.
Baron Bigod Brie - A wonderful raw milk, farmhouse Brie from Bungay, Suffolk that's every bit as good as a French Brie de Meaux. Rich and creamy with the earthy, mushroom flavours expected from a good brie, Baron Bigod delivers all that and more. A really accessible cheese that will leave both hardened cheese connoisseurs and cheese newcomers happy.
You can buy all of the cheeses mentioned in our online cheese shop
Photo above courtesy of Cellarman