A great cheeseboard is a festive must.

Loaded with a selection of delicious cheeses in contrasting colours, shapes and textures as well as a selection of seasonal fruits and nuts, this essential platter will see you right through from Christmas until New Year. It is perfect for entertaining large numbers of people or for any unexpected guests for whom you need to provide nibbles.

A fabulous festive cheeseboard offers a visual feast with maximum pleasure and minimum washing up. Now that really is a Christmas present!

Every cheeseboard needs a hero so it’s time to go big (unless you literally are a very small family expecting no guests).

As you may have gathered by now, Morello Life follow the more is more mantra  so we suggest you buy one big cheese to give your cheeseboard the serious ‘wow’ factor. This can be a baby stilton or a half/quarter of Stilton, half a brie or a lovely hunk of black bomber.

If you are working to a budget, then we prefer two or three good quality classics than a large selection of mediocre ones. Basically you can not beat a ‘fromage a trois’  – a cheddar, brie and stilton combo.

Take your cheeses out of the fridge a couple of hours before serving and rather than constantly moving them from fridge to board, cover the entire board with a clean, slightly damp tea towel which will prevent them drying out.

You can also cover a cut Stilton or other cheese with the wrappings from butter which will keep the cheese moist.

The 5 Types of cheese you need for your Cheeseboard

1. A Hard Cheese

Firstly, a cheeseboard needs a hard cheese to literally get your teeth into.

The usual choice is a mature cheddar and we love the award-winning Black Bomber  which is creamy and smooth and loved for its depth of flavour. Barbers 1833 Vintage Cheddar is also a winner and other delicious cheddars include a Montgomery’s Cheddar or a sweet Godminster Vintage.

Other options include  a continental style hard cheeses such as an aged Gruyère or soft delicate cheeses like Cornish Yarg or a washed rind cheeses like a floral Burwash Rose.

2. A Blue

Of course, no festive board should be without a Stilton, nick-named the ‘King of English Cheeses.” Stilton’s unique flavour and creamy background is perfect for Christmas. A real Stilton should be made in Derbyshire, Leicestershire or Nottinghamshire and only from pasteurised milk . We love a Colston Bassett Stilton – is a really good, more mellow, creamier Stilton. Our other favourite blue cheese are a Roquefort or a Barkham Blue.

3. A Goat’s or Soft Cheese

Try to include at least one non cow’s milk cheese like a ash-covered goat’s cheese or a goats’ milk log like Ragstone or a creamy ewes’ milk cheese like La Oveja Negra Manchego

4. A creamy one

Start with a soft and creamy cheese like a brie or a Normandy camembert.  Ideally, try and find one that will be at the peak ripeness when you are ready to eat it.  A classic finest Camembert or a Brie will always serve you well or you could go off piste slightly and try something different like a truffle or mushroom brie.

5. A Different one

Ask your local Cheese counter or Deli what else they would recommend to add interest to your cheeseboard. It is a great way of exploring new tastes and textures and adding a point of difference to your board.

How to serve your Festive Cheeseboard

Use a big wooden board, a piece of slate, or even a little table to designate as your cheese area – this will then create  a centrepiece for everyone to gather round and nibble.

Crackers

Include a great selection of different styles of crackers including oatcakes, cream crackers, water biscuits. We love Bath Olivers’s and Toast for Cheese. You can also include crusty bread if you are serving your cheeseboard as nibbles with drinks but for after a more formal meal, we would recommend just crackers.

Fruit and Nuts

A couple of crisp green apples or soft pears, some dark red, unctuously ripe figs is all you need. Grapes, dates and walnuts are also a great addition.

Chutneys, Jellies and Jams

It’s always a good idea to offer a chutney or savoury jam to complement your cheese board. Piccalilli, sweet onion chutney, tomato chilli jam, and Bacon Jam our our favourites. Personally we also love quince jelly.

For more cheese inspiration check out nealsyarddairy.co.uk and the finecheese.co.uk