If there is one food I could never, ever, ever give up, it would be cheese. That would be a hell on earth just not worth contemplating. There are so many incredible cheeses out there waiting to be discovered and my idea of food heaven is being presented with a heavily laden cheeseboard, groaning under the weight of a carefully selected assortment of fine, artisan cheeses, partnered with tasty biscuits, fruity chutney and a good full-bodied red wine or port. Sheer bliss.
So when Davidstow invited me to take part in their Christmas Cheeseboard Challenge, I really didn’t need to be asked twice.
Two-star Michelin chef and champion of all things Cornish, Nathan Outlaw has teamed up with Davidstow to share his tips and serving recommendations for a perfect cheeseboard:
- Pairing cheese with the right accompaniments will bring out its unique flavours. Partner Davidstow Cheddar with a fruit-based homemade chutney and a crunchy oatcake to provide a sweet balance to its sharp bite.
- Be sure to serve cheese at room temperature to bring out its full flavour. Allow a minimum standing period of 20 minutes.
- Never pre-slice cheese as it will cause it to dry out.
- Vary the cheese you include on a cheeseboard, including different textures as well as varieties.
- Present cheese on either a large flat slate, marble tile or wooden board. (See below for details of how to win one of three special Davidstow slate cheeseboard.)
So taking Nathan’s comments on board (ahem), I made up a batch of deliciously sweet and sticky prune, port and red onion chutney to serve with my Davidstow 3 Year Special Reserve Vintage Cheddar, along with some super crunchy, super seedy crackers.
Davidstow 3 Year Special Reserve Vintage Cheddar is the perfect Cheddar for a Christmas cheeseboard. With a deep mature flavour, its wonderful tang is mellowed by its rich, crumbly creaminess. It is made from the richest Cornish milk and matured for a minimum of three years. This Vintage Cheddar is only available from Sainsbury’s and Ocado.
As well as the Cheddar, my festive cheeseboard also featured a sharp, creamy British goat’s cheese, an intense Stilton and a lovely, ripe Camembert. Along with the prune and port chutney and seed crackers, I also added a bunch of grapes, that classic cheeseboard fruit. A glass or two of port on the side and, yes, I was most definitely in cheese heaven.
If you’d like to win one of three Davidstow slate cheeseboards in time for the Christmas celebrations, simply click on the link below to enter via Rafflecopter and leave a comment below say what cheeses you’d include on your own festive cheeseboard. This giveaway is open to people with a UK postal address only and runs until Wednesday 16 December 2015.
And if you fancied having a go at my chutney or seed crackers, here are the recipes…
Prune, port and red onion chutney
Makes 1 jar
100g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 red onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced
50g demerara sugar
60ml Balsamic vinegar
Put the prunes and port in a pan, bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to soak.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the red onions and cook slowly over a low heat for around half an hour, stirring now and again, until soft and beginning to caramelise.
Add the sugar and cook gently for another half an hour.
Then add the prunes in port and Balsamic vinegar, and cook again for half an hour.
Pour into a hot, sterilised jar and seal with a lid.
Super seedy crackers
100g sunflower seeds
100g pumpkin seeds
100g milled flaxseeds
100g sesame seeds
100g pine nuts
1 tsp Nigella seeds
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 150ºC / gas mark 2.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and leave to stand for 15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and absorbed all the liquid.
Line a couple of baking trays with silicone sheets or baking parchment, and spread out the mixture as thinly as possible, making sure there are no gaps.
Bake the mixture for about an hour and a half, but do check regularly, say every 15 minutes or so. The crackers are ready when lightly browned and crisp and completely dried out.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
When the crackers have cooled, break into large pieces and store in an airtight container.
Disclosure: I was supplied with complimentary samples of Davidstow’s 3 Year Special Vintage Cheddar and a supermarket voucher for additional ingredients in order to create my own cheeseboard for this challenge. As always all views expressed are my own.