Make Christmas even more special with a delicious Irish Farmhouse Cheese board that is sure to delight guests this festive season
An Irish Farmhouse Cheese board is perfect for any occasion, and especially at Christmas. They are versatile, social, aesthetic, delicious and most importantly, you are supporting a local Irish business in the process. A great cheese board begins with great cheese, and you can’t get any better than Irish Farmhouse Cheese. For information on different types of Irish farmhouse cheese available, check out this handy guide or use Bord Bia’s interactive map to find your local cheesemaker.
Competition: To enter Bord Bia’s Christmas competition where you could win a delicious hamper packed with Irish farmhouse cheese, visit: bordbia.ie/farmhouse-cheese. The lucky winner will be contacted on December 16.
Creating the perfect cheese board
Cheese boards can act as a casual appetiser or stand out as the showstopper at your event. They will get conversation flowing with the story behind them as each cheese is marked with a signature of the cheesemaker’s personality. This fool-proof guide will help you create a delicious work of art that will amaze your guests.
Step 1: Base
Start with your base. This can be anything from a wooden board, a ceramic slate or metal tray. It can be round, rectangular or square. You can even use a simple baking sheet. Any flat, stable surface will work as a base.
Step 2: Cheese
Select and add your Irish Farmhouse Cheese – the star of the show. Diversity is key when it comes to your cheese selection, whether it be a mix of flavours, textures or milk types. You should mix and match by age (mild/mature/vintage Cheddar, Gouda-style), soft (brie, camembert, goat), firm (hard cow, goat, sheep’s milk cheese) or blue.
For Christmas, we suggest using a blue, a bloomy rind cheese and an aged hard cheese.
Step 3: Dip
Add your dip. It’s a good idea to add your bowl of dip early in the process as the bowl gives structure to the board and allows you to build around it with other ingredients. Your dip can be sweet or savoury to suit your preference. Sweet dips include honey, jams and chutneys, while savoury dips could include whole grain mustard or beetroot hummus.
For Christmas, we suggest blackberry jam, crab apple jelly or red onion chutney.
Step 4: Meat
Add the meat. This is where your board begins to take shape. Let your creative juices flow by creating a ‘river’ of meat run across the board, or simply build around the bowl of dip.
Suggested meats include prosciutto, salami or chorizo.
Top tip: for circular, thinly-cut meats like salami or chorizo, fold the meat in half and then in quarter. Stack each piece against each other to begin making your design.
Step 5: Fruit
Add seasonal fruit. A mix of fresh and dried fruit can add different textures and visually has the potential to lift your cheese board with a pop of colour. We recommend adding a rainbow of colours to your board. Cut any fresh fruit into bite sized pieces or slices, and sprinkle dried fruit into small heaps across the board. Make sure to add fruit to either side of the board so it looks balanced.
Christmas-inspired cheese boards can include fresh fruit like pears, oranges, figs, brambly apples and dried fruit such as cranberries, apricots, figs.
Step 6: Veg
Add your veg for a savoury element and a change of texture. We suggest sprinkling some olives in between the gaps, or adding crunchy cornichons to the mix.
Step 7: Crunch
Add your crunch! Crackers, bread, oat cakes or bread sticks add texture but also act as a vessel for guests to layer their cheese/meat/dip/fruit/veg combinations onto. Roasted nuts or seeds, like almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts or pumpkin seeds also create another dimension of texture. Not only do they add crunch, but they help to fill in any blank spaces on the board.
Step 8: Fill in the gaps
Fill in the gaps. Sprinkle any leftover fruit, veg, crackers or nuts in the empty spaces throughout the board for a voluptuous and scrumptious-looking cheese board.
Finally, prepare for your guests to be amazed. Enjoy!