Collier’s CheeseboardServing Suggestions
Darren Gough is best known for his skills on the cricket pitch and more recently on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, but his big love is cheese, and he says Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive cheeseboard to round off the Christmas Day feast.
The TalkSport Radio presenter says that although he loves turkey and Christmas pudding, he always looks forward to the cheese course.
“Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas for me without a great cheese course – I prefer savoury foods to sweet,” he admits.
“I really got into cheese a few years ago. This year I went to the International Cheese Awards which just like a massive big fridge full of hundreds of different cheeses – it was fantastic!
“Now I love to really make something of the cheese course on Christmas Day – it is the grand finale to the Christmas feast,” he says.
“My favourite cheese is Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar, so that is always on my cheeseboard.
“I have spoken to some great chefs about cheese and apparently you should always choose between three and five cheeses as any more will overwhelm the palate. Choose a hard cheese, a soft cheese and a blue cheese to give a variety of tastes and textures.”
Here is Darren’s perfect cheese plate for the very best Christmas dinner this year:
Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar
“I love this. I eat it all year round and I reckon my family get through about four blocks a week! It has a rich, savoury and almost sweet flavour, with a deliciously crumbly texture. It has tiny salt crystals in it which give a satisfying bit of crunch. In fact it won Best Welsh Cheddar at this year’s International Cheese Awards and Best Extra Mature Cheddar at the same awards the year before.”
Available from all major supermarkets
“I’m a Yorkshire boy born and bred so this is my number one choice for a blue veined cheese. Made from Yorkshire cows’ milk, Yorkshire Blue is a mild, soft, creamy, blue veined cheese. They use a traditional recipe which has been developed to give the cheese a unique mild, buttery and sweet flavour with no sharp bite.”
Available from specialist cheese shops and delis, Waitrose and Booths, or online at www.shepherdspurse.co.uk
“I love the soft, oozy texture of Camembert spread on crackers. It is a soft cows’ milk cheese from Normandy with a furry white rind and when fully ripe, has a pungent, strongly-flavoured and runny interior, a bit like Brie which is a bit milder.”
Available from major supermarkets
How to serve your cheeses
“I take cheeses out of the fridge two hours before serving to allow to come up to room temperature to allow the flavours to develop. If cheese is too cold the flavour is inhibited.
“I remove all wrapping before serving but leave on the rinds to preserve the shape of the cheese and make it look its best.”
What to serve it with
“I always have a great selection of crackers. Oatcakes work a treat with Collier’s Cheddar. Sometimes I have grapes or maybe apple. But I do like a tangy chutney – red onion marmalade is pretty good,” adds Darren.
What to drink with cheese
“This is the fun bit. My preference would be to wash it down with a bottle of vintage port,” says Darren. “But a full bodied bottle of red wine such a New Zealand Pinot Noir also hits the spot.”
What to serve it on
“I love serving cheese on slate for the real wow factor, but a wooden board works just as well. A plate is OK but can be a bit grating when the knife hits the plate when everyone is cutting the cheese.
“I always serve with one knife per cheese to avoid the cheeses touching one another.”
How much to serve?
“Allow about 100g or 3 oz per person. I always allow a lot more though!”
So for the perfect cheeseboard:
- Choose between three and five different cheeses
- Choose one firm, one soft and one blue veined
- Take them out of the fridge in plenty of time!