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christmas cheese board tips tesco ireland

Elevate Your Christmas Cheese Board With Tips By Aisling Pearce From Tesco Ireland

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Cheese boards are reminiscent of Christmas! They’re perfect for grazing on for your Christmas parties and gatherings, or even as a starter for Christmas day. We’ve got the best tips and tricks from Aisling Pearce, who is the chilled and frozen senior buying manager at Tesco Ireland.

How many cheeses do you recommend for a cheese board serving 4-5 people?

I recommend 4-5 cheeses – ideally, you’d have a mix of hard cheese (like Tesco Vintage Irish White Cheddar) and soft cheese (like Tesco Finest Brie de Meaux), Irish Farmhouse cheese (like Wicklow Baun Farmhouse Baun) and then a continental option too like Tesco Finest Reserve Swiss Gruyere Cheese. A blue cheese is a must also – either Cashel Blue or Tesco Finest Aged Blue Stilton

christmas cheese board tesco ireland

If you’re curating a cheese board for a large group, what are your tips?

First, you need to consider if it’s the main event at a drinks gathering, or for after the main meal. Always allow for more choice than normal if it is a big group. Tesco Finest Ultimate Cheese Hamper is a great choice for a crowd, or gifting to the host. It includes larger portions of Irish Farmhouse favourites such as Cashel Blue, Vintage Irish Cheddar, Mature Cooleeney Camembert, Chulchoill Goats Cheese Log and Coolea Hard Cheese (Gouda style) – paired with the perfect Tesco Finest Apple & Fig chutney.

How far in advance is best to prepare a cheese board when hosting?

Preparation is key – prepare your cheese or charcuterie board well in advance of guests arriving. Take the cheese out of the fridge 1-2 hours in advance so that it is served at room temperature for optimal flavour. It’s also a good time to decant the wine, if you are serving a red wine, or a port. Time to take out the good chopping boards for the display too!

christmas cheese board tesco ireland

What is the general guideline for the types of cheese to use?

There is so much to explore with Irish Farmhouse Cheese – we have dozens in our range and your local Farmhouse Cheese will probably always be your favourite. Mine is Milleens from the Beara Peninsula – which is probably one of the original Irish Farmhouse Cheeses. It has a distinctive aroma and is full of wonderful aromatic herby flavours. I always include it in a cheese board.

Do you have any styling tips?

Use what you have on hand – you will be surprised by what’s available in your cupboard and fridge! As it’s Christmas, sprigs of rosemary and slices of oranges are a great garnish, or some pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.  

Make sure you have plenty of crackers and bread sticks – people might nibble on them without the cheese. Little bowls of olives and feta, hummus and tzatziki make for lovely dips and should appease different tastes. Fresh fruit such as grapes and chopped melon chunks are perfect if there are children or fussy eaters. Dried fruit such as apricots and dates are a great addition too.

christmas cheeschristmas cheese board tesco irelande board tesco ireland

What is the best way to slice each type of cheese based on shape/size?

If it’s for a large group, it’s best to cut the cheese in to bite-sized pieces so everyone is able to help themselves, without making a mess.  That way no one is trying to make their way to a table, potentially holding a plate and a drink, while talking to people, and trying to cut cheese at the same time. It’s best to do this before the cheese gets to room temperature. 

If you’re home alone, or with one or two people, I’d say wedges are fine because people are cutting and eating at their own pace.

christmas cheese board tesco ireland

What types of crackers work best for each type of cheese?  

A big favourite in our house is a Ardsallagh Cranberry Goats Cheese spread on Digestive Biscuits! It’s like an instant savoury cheesecake – give it a try!

Is there room for savoury dips on a cheese board?  

Maybe not for an after-dinner course, but a big yes if you’re putting on a big spread, or just a small cheeseboard for 2 while you are watching a Christmas movie! Think seasonally – a beetroot flavoured hummus is great, or whip in some goats cheese to elevate it further.

christmas cheese board tesco ireland

For leftovers (if there are any!), what is the best way to store them?

Cheese can be frozen and keeps really well, so pop leftovers into the freezer in little containers. When you are ready to use them again, take them out of the freezer the night before and store in the fridge – they are great for elevating a cheese toastie or an omelette!

From now until 2nd January 2024, Tesco is offering 3 for 2 Clubcard Price on speciality, Finest and Irish farmhouse cheese. There’s plenty to choose from as this offer runs on over 100 lines.


Aisling Pearce Tesco Cheese

Aisling Pearce is the senior buying manager for chilled and frozen products at Tesco Ireland, with over 20 years’ experience in the retail sector.

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