Cheese is synonymous with Christmas – whether you’re hosting a festive cheese and wine-themed evening for your pals or somehow finding room to fit in a cheese course after dinner on Christmas day.
But not all cheese is created equal, so we’ve called on the expertise of Ned Palmer, a cheese specialist and founder of the Cheese Tasting Company.
“A good cheeseboard is a balance between variety and simplicity,” he tells HuffPost.“It’s pleasing to the palate to have a range of flavours and textures in different styles of cheese, but it’s also a good idea not to overwhelm the senses with too many cheeses.” For Palmer, five is the magic number for any good cheese board.
While we all enjoy eating cheese on its own, if you’re looking for added flavour, he recommends pairing with oatcakes or sourdough bread, fresh figs, apples or England Preserves fruit pastes. And Branston Pickle, of course.
His first recommendation is Gorwydd Caerphilly. Made by the Trethowan family in Somerset, it’s a rich, crumbly texture with savoury, earthy taste. Palmer recommends accompanying this cheese with Christmas cake. Yum.
Next up is Baron Bigod, a brie-style cheese made in Suffolk by Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore. Spread over toasted sourdough and enjoy the luxurious, silky taste with hints of orange peeking through. Palmer suggests to pair this with a glass of Cremant de Limoux.
For lovers of cheddar, try a Lincolnshire Poacher, from, you guessed it, Lincolnshire. Made by Simon and Tim Jones in Alford, according to Palmer, it blends together the sweetness of an Alpine cheese, cheddar and sweet pineapple flavours. White wine wouldn’t go amiss with this indulgence.
Palmer’s fourth selection, Rollright, also has an alpine influence and hails from King Stone Farm in Oxfordshire made by David Jowett. A silky soft cheese, its flavour is milky, woody and with a hint of peanut.
Nottinghamshire cheese Stichelton, made by Joe Schneider rounds things off. Packed with long-lasting flavours including green apples and beef stock, its biscuity notes and creamy texture eaten with a sweet desert wine will leave you wanting more.
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