Maws offer cheese to please everyone this Christmas for casual nibblers to committed connoisseurs. In this blog we take a run down of the best hard cheeses on offer this year.
Whether you’re a Christmas pudding devotee, an organic turkey aficionado, defender of the humble sprout or staunch supporter of the smoked salmon starter, the one thing that most of us can agree on over the Christmas meal is that a decent cheese board to round things up is an absolute must.
In fact it’s fair to say that many of us would gladly forgo the stodge of suet and fruit that often lies far to heavy on a surfeit of roast fowl, and cut straight to a tangy platter of top rate cheeses – with an suitable accompanying tipple.
With this in mind, we’ve assembled a festive array of some of local cheese that goes well beyond the everyday – cheeses designed to create Christmas platters sure to be both admired and devoured…
We’re huge fans of wax-coated cheeses. Not only does it improve their shelf life by preventing unwanted surface mould, it also keeps hard cheeses like cheddar moist while they age, locking in all of their maturing flavour. This allows many masters of wax cheese making to imbue their product with all kinds of exciting additional flavour combinations - from whiskey to strawberries and champagne, and what could be more festive than that?
Shorrocks are one such family of cheese makers, perfecting their craft from their farm in Lancashire for generations. Their classic Lancashire bomb, lustrous in classic black wax, delivers a true taste explosion, while the red-waxed ‘home smoked’ version adds an extra mellow afterglow. The spirit infused Whiskey Bomb sings a carol on the palate, while their exclusive Strawberry and Champagne Bomb, clad in vermillion wax sprinkled with gold, delivers delicate flavour and the last word in festive luxury.
Nibble Nose are another redoubtable company with years of expertise in creating the finest waxed cheese, and (much like the offerings from Shorrocks) their colourful truckles would be a pleasure to find in the end of a Christmas stocking as well as the centre of any cheese board. Their 200g Smoked and Mature Cheddars give the perfect combination of bite coupled with depth of flavour, while their creamy Red Leicester Truckle has become an instant classic, especially when paired with the tangy chutney of your choice.
For many, a glass of fine port paired with a generous wedge of blue cheese is the essence of culinary Christmas, and to make it even more ‘peaches and cream’ than peaches and cream, that accompanying blue should always be Stilton.
Set deep in the heart of traditional Stilton making country is the small yet disproportionately famous market town of Melton Mowbray, where the Protected Geographical Status of their blue cheese is a fiercely protected as that of their notorious pork pies. Here you’ll find the Tuxeford & Tebbutt Creamery, standing unchanged in exterior appearance since construction in the 18th century, and it is also here they make Tuxeford & Tebbut Blue Stilton, a much prized and prize-winning traditional Blue Stilton ready to bestow the lovers of cheese, port and a traditional fireside Christmas, with a sigh of pure pleasure…
Shorrocks Cheese: Smoked Bomb 230g, Whiskey Bomb 230g, Strawberry & Champagne Bomb 230g, Lancashire Bomb 230g and 430g
Nibble Nose Smoked, Mature and Red Leicester 200g Truckles
Tuxeford & Tebbutt Blue Stilton by the 160g wedge