I love a good cheeseboard, it’s one of those indulgences that go into making a very special Christmas for me. I also don’t stop at cheese but add lots of other ‘picky bits’ to tuck into, like cold meats, dates, fruit and nuts.
We find that after Christmas dinner there’s not an awful lot of room left and we can quite happily sit out the rest of the day without even remotely thinking about food. Then it’s evening and the board games come out and somebody heads into the kitchen looking for something to pick at. They’re not hungry, it’s just a need to pick at something.
That’s when I start to put lots of ‘bits’ on the table, crackers and crisps and dips. Cold meats, olives, fruit and nuts but it’s my cheeseboard that is the centrepiece and among my favourite cheeses you will always find a damn good Cheddar, like the Davidstow Cheddar seen here. In fact there are two Davidstow Cheddars on this cheeseboard that I want to talk about.
These award winning Cheddars are made on the north Cornish coast which I love as it reminds me of our favourite holidays in Cornwall.
We have a 3 Year Vintage Reserve Cheddar which is matured for a minimum of three years, this is a firm cheese with a crumbly texture, the flavour lasts just long enough to tempt you into the next mouthful.
The second Davidstow cheese is an 18 month Extra mature which has an intense flavour and crunchy crystals that burst in your mouth as you eat it.
Now everyone has their favourite way of eating Cheddar cheese. My husband for example loves cheese on toast, the twins like a toasted cheese sandwich and I love to eat my Cheddar on crackers accompanied by a tomato and chilli jam which adds a tiny burst of heat to each mouthful. This is a family recipe that goes back years to when my grandmother first came across it and it’s been a regular on our Christmas table ever since.
- 8 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 10 red chillis roughly chopped
- finger-sized piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 400g can cherry tomatoes
- 750g golden caster sugar
- 250ml red wine vinegar
- Place the peppers, chillies (with seeds), ginger and garlic into a food processor and whizz until very finely chopped.
- Pour into a heavy-bottomed pan with the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar and bring to the boil.
- If any scum comes to the surface skim it off, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 50 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Once the jam thickens continue cooking for 10-15 mins more, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t catch and burn.
- Cool slightly, transfer to sterilised jars, then leave to cool completely.
- Keeps for 3 months in a cool, dark cupboard – refrigerate once opened.
Davidstow’s 3 Year Vintage Reserve is available exclusively from Ocado and Davidstow 18 Month Extra Mature is available from Tesco Extra, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons & Ocado
Disclosure: This post is a collaboration with Davidstow but opinions and recipes are all my own.