Good Afternoon Cheesy1’s,
I must start by thanking The Solent Cellar in Lymington for their support with this post. I decided to seek their help with the wine pairings for my Christmas cheese board selections. This enables me not only to provide accurate pairings but also gives you the chance to order wines through their online store! Look out for the wine bottle pictures in the post and click them for a link to that wine on their website.
Now on to Christmas 2016 where It’s that time of year again we start thinking about what cheeses we should be eating & serving this year. I have decided to create a ‘Modern Classic’ themed board which features newer or slightly different cheeses for a board but covers the tradition. I have picked all British Cheeses for my board and the cheeses I have picked are the actual selection of cheeses I will be serving this festive season.
Wookey Hole: As you may have gathered by now this is one of my favourites and is a staple for my cheese selections. The flavours are subtly sweet for a mature cheese that gives a creamy & buttery flavour which when you combine that with the cave aged character it adds a nuttiness like those tasted in Swiss cheeses, but it makes for a more complex and a appreciated Cheddar. Cheddar’s don’t have to be strong to be good and that is the story with this cheese.
Château Civrac, 2006, Côtes du Bourg, Bordeaux £14.99
“We’ve unearthed a parcel of this mature Claret just in time for the festive period. The 2006 Cotes de Bourg made by Cornishman Mark Hellyer packs a real punch with plenty of fruit and a nice savoury finish.”
Niepoort LBV 2012, £18.99
“The port is deep ruby in colour, with a complex and concentrated aroma of red and black fruits. Notes of pepper and dark chocolate. On the palate it shows great concentration and volume with a firm structure but a superb soft silky texture. The great acidity provides freshness and balance to the wine. Long and pleasant finish. The wine can be enjoyed now, and will become more complex with further cellaring for a couple of decades.”
Cropwell Bishop Organic Stilton: Having visited the Cropwell creamery in 2015 they were kind enough to leave a parting gift of a piece of Organic Stilton which won my cheesy heart from here-on in. It is handcrafted using a local Organic milk and it has mellow creaminess with the tang of blue. It is simply one of the best Stiltons I have had the pleasure in eating and so it is a must try this festive season.
M’ad Late Harvest Furmint, Hungary 375ml £16.99
“This wine is somewhere between a Loire Chenin and Burgundian Chablis in style – it has a wonderful blend of apricots and peaches, warming ginger spice as well as a typical minerality that is representative of the wines coming from the village. Perfect with roast pork.”
Senior Tawny Port, Niepoort £18.99
“Brick red tawny appearance; a velvety mouth feel with a fine blend of old wines giving richness balanced with younger wines giving freshness and complexity. This Tawny is a good match with cheeses and chocolate based desserts. It can also be drunk as an aperitif and can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.”
Butler’s Button Mill: This cheese was only released in October and as I said in a previous post “It’s quite simply one of the best soft cheeses I have tried from the UK that could challenge a French equivalent. It may not have that mushroomy/ earthy edge that a strong brie or camembert has but with its oozing golden paste more than makes up for that.” If you stumble across this cheese then you must buy it for your board and when you let Button Mill get to room temperature and you first put it in your mouth it’s a pure cheese dream. Its soft, liquid paste just fills the palate with delight and will sure please your festive guests.
Nautilus Chardonnay, Marlborough, New Zealand £17.99
“Nautilus Estate established in 1985 is a small, family-owned winery from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. This richly flavoured Chardonnay displays aromas of white peach, lemon blossom, crème brulée and biscuity characters. The palate is well integrated, rich, complex, with flavours that unfold into a lengthy, finely structure finish. It has a tight mineral structure that will develop into a creamy texture as it matures. Roast chicken or guinea fowl.”
Rosary Goats Plain: This light & mousse textured goats cheese is a sure fire winner even if you are not a fan of goats cheese. It will pair with almost anything you serve and with its slight zesty edge is a palate cleanser. It will add a softer & richer tone to your board with its white hue also a difference in colour.
Andrew Dezat Sancerre, Loire £15.99
“The Dezat family is one of the oldest wine-growing families in Sancerre and records date as far back as 1550. This is a classic Sancerre that has aromas of white flowers, citrus and exotic fruits, infused with the typical Sancerre mineral character.”
Quickes Cheddar With Elderflower: At the British Cheese Awards this is a cheese I tried that stood out to me during Judging. Flavour added cheeses aren’t necessarily seen in good light but this one breaks the norm. It has a fragrant freshness & the character of Quickes creamy cheddar with a lingering flavour. This will bring a Spring season element to your Winter cheese board.
Cattin Gewurztraminer, Alsace £13.99
“Cattin represents some of the best value wines from Alsace. This Gewurztraminer has rich aromas and distinctive notes of ripe tropical fruit, lychee and rose. It can be enjoyed on its own or with spicy food, strong cheeses and even fruity desserts.”
The biscuits that I have turned to this year are the Waitrose Christmas Savoury Biscuits For Cheese because there is a vast selection with Oat & Nigella Seeds, Malted Wheat Hexagons, Seeded Granary Wheat Squares, Oat & Chive Hexagons, Rosemary Rounds this selection will offer anyone a tempting biscuit for their cheese.
The chutneys are from Fortnum & Mason Rubies in the Rubble Pear, Fig & Port Christmas Chutney, 210g & Highgrove Spiced Fruit Chutney. The delights of F&M are a treasure trove to behold and these two will pair with a majority of the cheeses you serve on the board. The Highgrove Spiced Fruit Chutney is described “This spicy, fruity chutney is handmade in Wiltshire, just a few miles from the Highgrove Estate. Produced in small batches in the traditional way, it is made to Highgrove’s own recipe using organic ingredients from the estate. Delicious with cheeses and cold meats.” The Rubies in the Rubble Pear, Fig & Port Christmas Chutney is described “Made from slow-cooked pears with ripe figs and warming spices like root ginger and cinnamon, this limited-edition Christmas chutney also contains a generous splash of port to give it a true festive flavour. With a rich and tipsy flavour, our Pear, Fig & Port Christmas Chutney is the perfect accompaniment to your Boxing Day cheese board. For every Pear, Fig & Port Christmas Chutney jar sold, Rubies in the Rubble will donate £1 to Centrepoint – a charity giving homeless young people a future.” What better way to eat cheese and to be donating money to charity also.
I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas & a very Happy New Year and to all the People I have met this year a very special Thank You. I will be back in the New Year on 11th January 2017 for a another year in the world of cheese!