The Ultimate Christmas Cheeseboard
Building the perfect Christmas cheeseboard
It's Christmas evening - you're full to the brim with roasties, Brussels sprouts, vegan pigs in blankets and mince pies. You're just about to fall into the sofa to let your belly rest, but then the cheeseboard comes out and suddenly, you gain a new lease of life and forget about your food coma.
Sound familiar? If so, this one is for you. A great vegan Christmas cheeseboard has the ability to wave away all feelings of fullness and is really the 'pièce de résistance' of any good festive meal. But how do you make the ultimate Christmas cheeseboard? Let's find out.
Remember a board
We don't mean to sound obvious, but so many people forget to get an actual platter. A Christmas cheeseboard doesn't look so great spread across a random selection of plates.
Make sure you have a board that's large enough for your spread to fill, but not too large that it looks empty. Vintage-style wooden platters make for a rustic-looking but stunning cheese display, whilst boards made from slate give a sophisticated vibe.
Stay away from plastic boards - not only are these bad for the planet, but they just don't have the 'vah vah voom' that a Christmas cheeseboard requires.
Showcase a variety
It's all about making sure that your cheeseboard-eaters have plenty of choice and a mix of different flavours. Try to have a variety of four to five different vegan cheeses, including a hard, aged, creamy, blue and herbed cheese. You may need two to three packages of each cheese variety, if your board is to serve a larger gathering.
Although it is important to have a mix of several cheeses on your board, ensure that tastes don't clash too much and that there are accompaniments on the board to balance certain flavours. Think carefully about what will go well together (have a taste test beforehand, by all means!).
Place complementary cheeses and accompaniments (spreads, chutneys, jams, preserves, herbs, olives, pickles etc) near one another, so that guests know what pairs well. For example, a tangy blue cheese will go well accompanied by a smoother, creamier one, like the Truffled Ash Semi Soft from palaceculture.co.uk
Likewise, a really creamy cashew cheese will go great with chutney or olives. If you want to really ramp things up on the flavour scale, ensure that your board features tart pickled veggies.
\"Every layer of texture you add will make it all look even more delicious\"
You can mix sweet and savoury, too - create a delicious contrast by pairing fruity preserves with crusty breads and salty cheeses, or juicy grapes with tart hard cheeses. Some people also enjoy slices of vegan deli meat on Christmas cheeseboards - if this is something you would like to add, try things like plant-based pepperoni, chorizo or pastrami.
Colour is key
Needless to say, no one's eye will be drawn to your Christmas cheeseboard if it is completely beige - you need colour to make it 'pop'!
Adding little flashes of colour throughout can make even the simplest of platters look sumptuous and inviting. Scatter eye catching berries, vibrant fruits and colourful jams and chutneys between your cheeses to really make it all stand out.
Add different textures
Whilst adding colour will invite people's eyes to your board, contrasting textures can be used to make it look extra tasty. Place creamy cheeses next to juicy fresh berries, and velvety-smooth delights next to crusty French baguettes and bread sticks. Every layer of texture you add will make it all look even more delicious and will also give a better mouthfeel for eaters.
Bread and crackers are probably the easiest ways to add texture to your platter (you can also use crudités) - we recommend four-six different options.
You should be able to fit an assortment of different crackers onto your board, but breads may need to go on the surface closest, if you only have a small one. French baguettes, mini toasts, seeded crackers, woven wheat squares and bread sticks are all delicious options, with some options hard and crunchy, and others delicate and soft, so pair accordingly.
Fruit offers a delightful accompaniment to a variety of cheeses - try to utilise what's in season though, by staying away from fruits like strawberries (even though they are delicious eaten with cheese!).
Opt for seasonal gems as and when they become available, including pomegranates, figs, persimmons, cranberries and red currants. Grapes are usually harvested through to November, so depending on when you create your Christmas cheeseboard, you can add them whilst staying seasonal.
Not only is keeping your board seasonal better for the planet, but it will also help you to buy more locally, supporting local businesses and your community in the process.
Last, but not least, drinks served alongside your Christmas cheeseboard are vital - not only functionally (to wash all that cheese down!), but certain beverages can really bring out and enhance flavours. Traditionally, red wine is served with cheese, but white varieties are also enjoyable. For non-alcoholic options, try juices like red grape, apple and pear, as well as alternatives liken sparkling water.