A cheese lover’s christmas!

This Christmas, as part of the Discover Farmhouse Cheese programme, Bord Bia is encouraging cheese lovers to celebrate Christmas with the perfect farmhouse cheese board.

Whether it’s creating your own cheese board for some home entertaining, or bringing it as a gift when visiting friends, Bord Bia has the following helpful tips and advice to ensure your cheese board is a success.

Top tips to help you create the perfect cheese board this festive season:

  • Avoid too much choice.  It’s better to have a couple of good size pieces of cheese than a lot of smaller bits. It looks better and the cheese will keep better.
  • Select your cheeses so that you have different sizes, shapes, flavours and texture.  For example, you could have a soft, blue, hard, and goat.
  • Place your cheeses in order of strength – try not to have strong pungent cheeses beside delicately flavoured cheeses.
  • Leave the cheese at room temperature for approximately 2-3 hours before serving.
  • In terms of presentation, try serving cheeses on slate, marble, wooden board, or straw mat.
  • Serve with bread or cheese crackers leaving room beside each cheese for your guests to slice.
  • Apples, pears, or grapes make a nice addition along with honey, jellies, chutney or quince.

If you are stocking up on farmhouse cheese for entertaining this Christmas, it is important to remember that farmhouse cheese is a living breathing food so here are some ‘cheese-care’ tips to ensure cheese is kept at its best:

• If you are using the cheese on the day you buy it, simply leave it in its wrapping at room temperature until you need it.

• If you are holding your cheeses for a longer period, the vegetable compartment of the fridge is the best option.  Keep the cheeses in a separate container from other foods but not with a sealed lid.

• If you have a large piece of cheese which is not going to be used all at once, don’t bring the whole piece to room temperature.  Instead, cut off as much as you will need and then carefully rewrap the main piece and return to the refrigerator.  When a cheese is being warmed up and cooled down repeatedly it will suffer.

The Discover Farmhouse Cheese programme is a new EU co-funded campaign organised by Bord Bia, to celebrate  farmhouse cheese in Ireland.