Winter Cheese Board

Every holiday soirée needs a fabulous cheese board as the centrepiece of the party food table. No matter what the time of year it is, I love to create an interesting cheese scape choosing complimentary accompaniments that are seasonal, colourful and textural.

The Cheese

I like to have at least 3-5 selections depending on the amount of guests

A blue ( love an English Stilton )

A soft cheese triple cream Brie

A mild cheddar

Something sharp like an Asiago or Parmigiano Reggiano

Chèvre – Make it fab by rolling it in seeds or ground nuts

How much cheese to buy? Once you decide on your menu you can work with these guidelines.

1.5 oz per person of each cheese ( 1 pound = 16 oz) I would base that on a platter with 3 cheeses. If you’re adding more varieties you can reduce the amount of cheese per person. Also, if you’re serving other hors d’oeuvres or having a particularly large meal feel free to pare down as well.

To slice or not to slice? If I’m hosting a smaller gathering I leave the cheese whole and provide knives for each one. For large parties slice the cheese up as it’s less messy and this way you can ensure there is enough.

The rest

Nuts. Sure you could just throw some on the platter. Elevate them by giving them a quick toss in a hot pan and lightly toasting them. Almonds , walnuts , cashews are great.

Dried fruit. Figs, dates and apricots add gorgeous dimension and work so well with really sharp cheeses like Stilton.

Fruit. Grapes are ok but figs, pears, apples and citrus add so much visual appeal. Tip: if you are using slices apple or pear toss them in lemon juice to slow down oxidation

On the side: Premium crackers(find really good ones!) if not do toasted baguette (Slice baguette thinly. Brush with olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes). If you really want to wow your guests try my savoury Rosemary Parm Shortbread which can be made well in advance. As a final touch, consider offering a jelly, compote or chutney.

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