Easy cheesy festive nibbles
Cheese experts Pallant of Arundel share their tips to help you entertain over party season
With up to 70 cheeses hailing from Sussex, the wider UK and abroad on their counter, who better to share their tips on canapes and cheeseboards for festive entertaining than the experts at Pallant of Arundel. What’s more the super-deli has a Sussex gift box to give away to one lucky reader.
Cheese canape ideas
Thin slices of Spanish Manchego cheese topped with a thin slice of membrillo quince paste
Mixed Cheese Dip – Simply blitz a cheese of your choice with a tub of crème fraiche in a food blender and then serve with breadsticks. Soft blue cheeses like Dolcelatte or Gorgonzola Dolce work really well. Or, try mixing a blue cheese with a stronger hard cheese like a cheddar for some texture; or even with a cheese like Appleby’s Cheshire to get some colour into the dip.
Pecorino & Fennel Crisps – A really simple idea…grate some Pecorino into a bowl, mix in some fennel seeds (or other herb or flavouring of choice), spoon a teaspoon of the mixture onto a greaseproof lined baking sheet, put into a very hot oven, and then turn the oven off immediately and let the mix melt & crisp into a thin biscuit style canape.
Spicy Comte Nuts – grate some Comte cheese into a bowl, mix in some nuts (preferably unroasted ones), dry roast the mixture in a frying pan and serve.
Putting together the perfect cheeseboard
Three to five cheeses are ideal, think variety, so a hard cheese, soft, and goat or sheep’s milk, plus something a little different that your guests may not have had before (talk to your local cheesemonger for ideas!)
Also consider how they’ll look on the cheeseboard; there are cheeses with coatings such as Cornish Yarg covered in nettle leaves or Villarejo Manchego rolled in rosemary, or washed rind cheeses that often have a yellow/orange rind such as the French ‘Langres’. Ash coated goat’s cheeses look great too, such as the amazing Dorstone from Herefordshire or the French Selles sur Cher.
Individual cheeses, as opposed to a slice from a larger truckle of cheese, often look good (think individual goat’s cheeses such as Golden Cross from East Sussex or the Molecomb Blue from the Goodwood Estate).
Alternatively, consider just having one cheese for impact! A whole Brillat Savarin (approx. 500g) with its lovely downy white rind is a very special treat (it’s a triple cream cheese so incredibly indulgent). Or think seasonal and go for the Vacherin Mont D’Or…warmed in the oven to make an instant fondue style supper with sliced meats and vegetables to dip.
What to offer with cheese
Membrillo quince paste is a classic to go with hard cheeses especially Spanish Manchego but also a Sussex equivalent such as the sheep’s milk Lord of the Hundred’s cheese.
Or try an English Damson Fruit Cheese (actually a solid preserve similar in style to Membrillo) to go with stronger cheeses.
Figs & dates go very well with cheeses…. Think fig & almond or date & walnut cakes from Spain and also baked fig balls.
Chutneys & pickles are obviously a great idea but try something a little different such as a mild & fragrant pear chutney that will go well with softer cheeses.
Alternatively jellies are a good idea instead…different flavours can pair well with different cheeses…chilli with cheddar and hard cheeses; ginger with smoked cheeses; lavender jelly with goat’s cheese.
And don’t forget the wine selection…Port and red wine are our usual choices, but how about a ‘vin doux’ or sweet dessert wine such as a Sauternes to go with blue cheeses such as Roquefort. Or offer a red and a white wine with the cheeseboard, so your guests can start with a goats cheese with a Sauvignon Blanc before moving onto a red wine or port with the stronger cheeses.
Hampers & gift boxes
Pallant is selling a range of hampers and gift boxes at its shop and online, till this 6pm Fri 14 Dec (posted for pre-Xmas delivery), or later if you collect.
WIN A GIFT BOX! ******* COMP CLOSED******** winner Kay Hastilow
We’ve a Pallant Simply Sussex gift box worth £40 to give away to one lucky Muddy reader. Enter the Reader Treats prize draw here