How to Create the Perfect British Cheeseboard

  • 01 of 03

    Create a Perfect British Cheeseboard

    British Cheese Board
    Copyright Elaine Lemm

    With more than 700 British cheeses of the highest quality available, choosing cheese for a cheeseboard can be quite a minefield, you’ll be spoilt for choice as British cheese is amongst the best in the world.

    What Cheese to Serve

    To narrow down the options on your cheeseboard it is best to select between three and five cheeses of different textures and tastes. These could include:

    • A hard cheese such as a West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, Wensleydale, Cheshire or Ashmore Farmhouse. 
    • A soft cheese like a Somerset Brie or a St Endillion, Cornish Camembert and if you like a little smelly cheese, how about a Stinking Bishop.
    • A Blue, such a Stilton, Yorkshire Blue, (one of our favorites) Blue Lancashire, Shropshire Blue or Blue Wensleydale is a must as it brings in another taste and texture.
    • Flavoured cheese, often with fruit or spices added brings another dimension, and though they add a fun factor, they are delicious too.
    • Fresh Cheese always adds a little zing to a cheeseboard with their lightness and, well, freshness. Serve a Cream Cheese, Fromage Frais, Ricotta or a Mozzarella.

    Sometimes, serving just one cheese can create an impact. This cheese could be one that is local, a new cheese, a seasonal offering or just a great favorite. The serving of just one may solve a lot of headaches in terms of choosing between the 700 on offer but is really only a good idea if it is part of a much larger offering (a dinner party, maybe at Christmas....).

    Which British Cheese?

    With so many cheeses available, how do you know which one to buy? Here's a small collection of regional cheeses that are popular and perfect for your British cheese board.

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  • 02 of 03

    What to Serve With British Cheese

    Still life of Stilton on chopping board with figs, apples and grapes
    Tim Macpherson / Getty Images

    In mainland Europe, the British way of serving cheese with a ton of accompaniments is frowned upon, but it is traditional, and many will feel cheated without all the trimmings. Personally, we are of the" lesser decoration the better brigade", preferring instead to savor the flavor of the cheese itself, but each to his own. So if you do like all the extras:

    • Serve your cheese with fresh, natural ingredients which traditionally are grapes, seasonal crisp British apples or pears, and if you wish a little celery.
    • Pickles such as pickled onions, a dollop of chutney or piccalilli is always welcome on a cheeseboard served for a lunch or snack. You may not want to put hefty pickles on a board served after dinner, the flavors could be a little strong.
    • Alongside the cheese serve delicious oatcakes, homemade Digestives are good or simple crackers but avoid any which are very strong in taste or too salty.
    • At Christmas, it is almost a sin to not serve cheese with a Christmas Cake. Cheeses like Wensleydale or Stilton are a very festive and traditional flavor.
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  • 03 of 03

    What to Drink With British Cheese

    Port in a Glass
    Elaine Lemm
    • Traditional and so very, very British is Port with Stilton cheese, a real marriage of flavors.
    • The spicy flavors of an Oloroso Sherry make a great partner to a Blue, and in particular, a Blue Stilton but even more at home with the pungent "Blues" is a sweet, pudding wine.
    • A wee dram of Whisky with cheese. The smoky, deep notes of a Talisker were made to be drunk with a robust Farmhouse Cheddar.
    • Full-bodied reds stand up well to mature cheeses and also like a little blue. Dry white wines feel more comfortable with milder cheeses like a Red Leicester or similar.
    • And finally, do not overlook beers with cheese, they were, after all, one of the first drinks drunk with cheese and there is no denying they work very well together. Darker beers with mature, harder, lighter therefore obviously better with lighter flavored cheese.