Christmas cheese must-stocks according to the British Cheese Awards

To help give some pointers to some delicious British cheeses to enjoy on 25th December, as well as throughout the festive season, committee members from the British Cheese Awards share personal favourites that they intend to enjoy this year

Peter Mitchell, chairman of the British Cheese Awards:
“There are two cheeses that I am really looking forward to enjoying this year. The first is Pavé Cobble (Unpasteurised, sheep’s milk, vegetarian rennet), a handmade fresh sheep milk cheese made by Whitelake Cheese, located in Pylle, Shepton Mallet, Somerset. This won Supreme Champion at this year’s British Cheese Awards. It is a light and delicate cheese with a mousse-like texture and is named in celebration of the spring classic bike races held on the cobbled roads of Belgium and northern France. To drink with this I’d recommend a good Pinot Gris or a Riesling.

“The second cheese I’ll be savouring is Old Jack (Pasteurised, Cows’ milk, traditional rennet) from River Amble Creamery in North Cornwall. It’s a continental style hard cheese rather like a cross between an aged Gruyère and a Gouda. With age it develops slightly sweet caramel notes but has a depth of flavour that is truly unique.  I’d enjoy this with a good Alsace Riesling or even Gewürztraminer.“

Mike Pullin, director of Ford Farm:
“I’ll be enjoying a large piece of Appleby’s Cheshire (Unpasteurised, Cows’ milk, traditional rennet). In my opinion, this is the best Cheshire cheese available to buy and its distinctive orange colour always looks good on the cheeseboard. It’s wonderfully moist, crumbly, clean and zesty on the tongue. I like it after Christmas lunch, perhaps served with a slice of Christmas cake or some dried dates. The acidity partners perfectly with the sweetness. Personally, I think Cheshire is best partnered with a beer – a pale ale or a bitter - or even a medium dry cider. “

Amanda Streatfeild, Denhay Farms in Dorset:
“My choice would be Cropwell Bishop’s Shropshire Blue (Pasteurised, Cows’ milk, vegetarian rennet). Everyone has Stilton for Christmas but this creamy textured cheese looks a little classier with that wonderful golden colour. I’d partner it with some excellent cheese crackers and a glass of Kingston Black Apple Aperitif. The perfect end to a Christmas feast!”

Ros Windsor, managing director of Paxton & Whitfield:
"I’d go for a lovely piece of Rollright (Pasteurised, cows’ milk, traditional rennet). This is a relatively new, cheese to the UK artisan cheese market, first being produced in March 2015. We’ve got a close association with this cheese as it is the creation of David Jowett a young British cheesemaker who used to work for us at our Stratford-upon-Avon store. He makes this washed-rind cheese at King Stone Dairy in Little Rollright, Oxfordshire. The cheese has a peachy coloured rind that complements the pale, unctuous inner paste. It has a delicious full flavour that is savoury and meaty with hints of sweet buttery notes. I’d enjoy it with a glass of beer from a small artisan brewer.”

Justin Tunstall, cheesemonger and food writer:
“I’ll be enjoying a Cremet (Pasteurised, cows’ and goat’s milk, vegetarian rennet) from Sharpham, Devon. This is an individual, bloomy rind, soft white cheese that is truly distinctive. It’s made from a mix of Jersey cows’ and goats’ milks. The rind is fluffy and mushroomy, while the paste is rich and creamy, albeit with a bite from the goat. I’ll enjoy it with come charcoal and cumin crackers and a cup of Lapsang Souchong tea.”

This year’s competition attracted just under 1,000 entries from 144 makers, with 70 judges reviewing 135 classes of cheese. Cheeses entered came from over 54 counties that covered the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland, showing just how vibrant the British cheese industry is today.

The British Cheese Awards 2018 will be held on Wednesday 30th May at the Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

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