Not sure which cheeses to serve at Christmas or what wine to pair them with? Guy Wolley, French food expert and chef reveals his favourites:
How to make the perfect cheese board for Christmas:
- The key to all cheeseboards is a good mix of flavour, texture and colour.
- If you can add some geographical spread and select cheeses from diverse regions of France, then you have a choice that is truly representative of the country’s magnificent cheese heritage.
- Five cheeses make a good board – and means that you can go for cheeses that cover all bases; from hard to soft, blue, mild to strong and made from cows, goats and sheep’s milk.
The top five French cheeses for your Christmas cheese board:
The King of blue cheeses with a history dating back almost 2000 years, this famous sheep’s milk cheese, aged in caves near Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, has huge flavours. Tangy and strong, the ivory pate should be creamy rather than crumbly and the blue should be evenly spread throughout. Roquefort Papillon is a well-known and reliable brand.
Deliciously paired with a sweet Beaumes de Venise or a Sauternes.
St Maure, a goats’ milk cheese from the Touraine region on the Loire, is a small log shaped cheese dusted with ash with natural grey mould. It has a lovely nutty flavour and a satisfying earthiness.
The acidity makes this cheese the perfect partner to the zesty Sauvignon blanc wines of the Loire
From the Nord-Pas de Calais region, this is a square shaped washed rind cheese with a pungent orange/brown crust which belies the delicious mild mellowness of its semi soft interior.
Try with a spicy Gewurztraminer from Alsace.
Instead of going for a wedge of Brie, I suggest you find a whole, preferably farmhouse manufactured Coulommiers – made, like Brie de Meaux, in the Ile de France to the east of Paris. Soft, lush, creamy and unctuous with a white bloomy rind.
Pair with a Pinot Noir from Burgaundy.
A hard but beautifully smooth cheese from the Savoie region. Similar in style to a Gruyere but with a higher fat content and a richness reflecting the mountain pastures and wild flowers of the Alps.
Match it with a cru Beaujolais such as Fleurie.
If you love cheese, you’ll go gaga for this amazing cheeseboard that was presented during the prestigious cheese championships of France and was won by… an Englishman!