Create the Perfect Cheeseboard
When preparing a cheeseboard, plan on serving from three to five cheeses (any more than that will overwhelm the palate). You want to tempt the taste buds with cheeses of distinctly different styles, tastes, and textures.
For a simple, but interesting cheese board, start with these three selections: one soft cheese (Brie, Camembert), one firm cheese (Farmhouse Cheddar, Cornish Yarg) and one blue vein cheese (Oxford Blue, Brighton Blue). To expand your offerings, add goat or sheep milk cheese (Rosary, Wigmore) and a washed rind cheese (Celtic Promise, Pont L'Eveque).
For a more creative twist, build your cheese board around a theme. You might offer cheeses from different milks (cow, sheep, goat) or cheeses from a particular region or country.
Differently shaped and coloured cheeses will help to make the cheeseboard visually interesting.
To allow the cheeses to be enjoyed at their best, bring them to room temperature for optimal flavour, so remember to take them out of the refrigerator up to two hours before serving.
Serve your cheeses with rustic bread, chutneys and fresh fruit to complement the range of flavours.
As a rule of thumb a five cheese board using the five main cheese categories would have 100g of cheese in total per person, with the following percentage breakdown;
Hard Cheese 40%, Blue Cheese 20%, Soft Cheese 15%, Goats Cheese 15%, Washed Rind Cheese 10%.
Here is an excellent selection for a cheeseboard using cheeses that we stock from the South of England;
Quickes Traditional Cheddar 1kg (Devon)
This cheddar has an intense and complex flavour that comes from the cheese being cloth wrapped in truckles and then matured for over twelve months. Gold medal winner, 2014 World Cheese Award.
Tunworth 250g (Hampshire)
This is a handmade, Camembert-style cheese produced by Hampshire Cheese. The cheese itself is rich, milky and nutty and was named supreme champion at the British Cheese Awards in 2013 and won Super gold at the 2012 World Cheese Awards.
Oxford Blue 300g / 2.5kg (Oxfordshire)
Oxford Blue by the Oxford Cheese Company is a soft, creamy blue cheese that has a mild taste with a bit of sharpness.
It is made from pasteurized cow's milk using a vegetarian rennet and is matured for 14 – 16 weeks. Gold Award winner 2013 World Cheese Awards.
Sister Sarah 1kg (West Sussex)
A mild semi soft goats cheese with a creamy texture similar to Port Salut, produced by the High Weald Dairy near Haywards Heath. The cheese is coated in annatto to give a distinctive orange rind. Named best UK goat cheese at the 2012 International Cheese Awards.
Tornegus 800g (Surrey)
Tornegus is a washed-rind cheese produced by Eastside Cheese in Godstone. The pinkish rind has a scattering of Egyptian Mint, to give the cheese a sweeter finish. The texture is silky - semi-soft, and the flavour spicy, becoming fruitier and more powerful as it matures.
Lord of the Hundreds 2.2kg (East Sussex)
Winner of the Best Modern Cheese Award at the 2011 British Cheese Awards, this is a un pressed, un pasteurised vegetarian ewes milk cheese produced by the Traditional Dairy, Burwash. Its flavours hint at caramelised hazelnuts and the meadows in which the sheep graze. Suitable for vegetarians.