Food Fortnight: Christmas Cheeseboard 2015 - The Best Cheese, Crackers and Chutneys

The Christmas cheese board is for many a highlight of the meal, and indeed the ensuing days, when many a scratch meal consists of cheese board + various condiments and fridge contents.  Perfect holiday eating.  Of course, cheese is the ultimate in personal taste and preference.  Most of us can agree on what makes a good or bad roast potato, but a good cheese is highly subjective.  However, we have attempted here to tell you about the best we've found.  And one thing we can say is that supermarket cheese has come a very long way in recent years.

This beautifully wrapped Celebration Cheese Stack from Ocado is great for home use, but also an ideal gift for your Christmas hosts if going away.  And you can even get it delivered in advance of your arrival!

Divine Aged Parmesan, Asda

Stag Bakeries and Peter's Yard both produce a range of delicious oatcakes, crispbreads and crackers, perfect as a snack, a canapĂ©, with dips or cheese.  Peter's Yard Original Crispbread has even been named one of the Top 50 products in the UK at the Great Taste Awards.  They are available from Waitrose, Ocado, and many independent stores.  Stag Bakeries award-winning Stornoway Water Biscuits with Hebridean seaweed are the perfect cheese biscuit, just delightful.  They are available from Lakeland and independent stores.

Brillat Savarin with Cranberries £5.99, Ocado

Paxton & Whitfield is your one stop shop for all things cheese.  Their Spiced Plum Chutney and Caramelised Red Onion Chutney are the perfect accompaniments to your cheeseboard, and look no further for the perfect crackers for all kinds of cheeses.

For the cheese selection, try the Alpine Beaufort PDO which has a great flavour and depth, with a smooth, round after taste.  If you think you don't like blue cheese, try the mellow light Stilton PDO, which shows just how good Stilton should be.  Waterloo is a smooth delicious soft cheese, and the Bosworth Ash Log is a not too goat-y goats' milk cheese, which will mean there is something for all tastes on your cheeseboard.  Finally, the Austrian Hubaner will go perfectly with the port after dessert, a strong, hearty cheese to excite the tastebuds.

All cheese are available from Paxton & Whitfield stores in Jermyn Street and Cale Street (London), Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath, and online.

Stilton as it should be - no chemical taste, Asda

For those who like flavoured cheese, Hodgetts Sage & Onion and Christmas Cake are a treat.
Both available from Ocado.

Lidl's TĂȘte de Moine with Pirouette makes a great talking point, and a delicious treat for your cheeseboard.

Castello's Aged Havarti is based on an authentic Danish recipe.  It has a crumbly yet creamy texture with added salt crystals to give a unique, contrasting flavour, and a buttery, almost caramelly flavour.  It is a strong cheese which goes well with other strong flavours like good olives, fennel seeds or walnuts.  It is available exclusively at Waitrose, priced £2.65.

Tigerwood Cheeseboard, Asda
Make sure you try their Extra Special Vintage Cheddar and Red Leicester, both fantastic;
and the All-Butter Gouda Biscuits are to die for!

Lidl Aged Gouda, delicious

Try the various award-winning M Signature cheeses from Morrisons too:
Mature Double Gloucester, Wensleydale, Red Leicester, Gruyere, Barbers 1833 Vintage Cheddar, and the Mature Blue Stilton are all great.

Nairn’s Cracked Black Pepper Crackers are made from oats, gluten free, and have quite a kick!  they work perfectly with a wide variety of cheeses and chutneys and have a light, crispy texture.  They are available from Asda and Waitrose, RRP £1.70.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range offers a wide variety of top quality cheeses, including a Shropshire Red, which is a glorious mouthful of flavour with a slightly nutty edge, from the award-winning Belton Dairy; and Barber’s Extra Matured Farmhouse Cheddar which is deep, rounded and salty.  Delicious.

These wonderful Kent & Fraser Gluten Free Stilton & Walnut Biscuits have a lovely texture and a great flavour, £2.29 from Ocado

At the Co-op, try the Loved By Us Raspberry & Prosecco Wensleydale, a delightful modern twist on a classic favourite, and a great conversation piece!  The Loved By Us Half Moon Stilton is very mild, not at all ‘soapy’ or chemically, and just how a good Stilton should be - and at a great price.  For children, try the Christmas tree cheeses, great fun and they taste good too, not to mild, still good quality cheddar.

'Traditional' and 'classic' are that way for a reason, and we just love them!  Jacobs crackers have been a staple of the British cheeseboard for as long as most of us can remember and this cute festive selection even has Christmas greetings stamped on the cracker!  Also has family favourites such as Cornish wafers, Cheddars, Hovis biscuits and water biscuits.  Well, that's our family sorted, what about yours?

Every cheeseboard needs good chutney, and these two from The English Provender Co. are just perfect.  The Caramelised Red Onion Chutney is not too sweet and would work with the cheeseboard and the cold buffets and sandwiches all the way through to New Year.  The multi-layered flavour of the Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney makes it perfect for a variety of cheeses, and it makes the perfect Ploughman's feast too!

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