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Opies Ultimate Festive Cheese board

We believe the perfect cheese board should include a great variety of cheeses, accompaniments and fresh fruits so that it is interesting and inviting – a real feast for the eyes (and the stomach), ideal for special occasions. The cheese is the star of the show so any accompaniments need to be carefully selected to ensure they perfectly pair rather than detract from the mainstay. Soft cheeses can often be an afterthought, but actually provide texture variety to the cheese board. Vegan cheeses have also risen in popularity over recent years if you're looking for non dairy alternatives.

An array of savoury preserves are a must-have. Of course, this includes Opies Pickled Walnuts are delicious products, typically eaten with Stilton, but work exceptionally well with all types of cheese, such as a mature cheddar. In fact, chef restauranteur Mark Hix said “Pickled Walnuts are a great accompaniment to cheese and are not used enough in my opinion”.

Perfect cheese board items include sweet, tangy Opies Silverskin Onions With Turmeric & Mustard Seeds and crunchy, hand-pickled Opies Cornichons & Onions pickled with mustard seeds are also featured. As well as a delicious selection of snacking partners, they offer a welcome bite, texture and are a tasty accompaniment. For even more variety on your cheese plate, we suggest pimento stuffed olives and a rich, luxury chutney like a traditional Bramley apple or a real ale chutney, made with the finest ingredients.

Finally, it’s unfeasible to serve a cheese board without crackers. It was only right that Opies’ selection should include Peter’s Yard crispbread, after all it has been named “The best biscuit for cheese out there” by Great Taste Award judges. To provide contrast, three crispbreads are suggested, all taken from Peter’s Yard’s selection box: the multi-award winning Original recipe, Charcoal and Rye and Spelt and Poppy Seed.

Jeremy Bowen, a well-known figure in the fine food and artisan cheese industry, commented: “Pickled Walnuts are a real family favourite and of course they have to be Opies! This selection showcases British cheese at its best in terms of variety and quality, whilst complementing and contrasting perfectly with the accompaniments. Every cheese used brings a unique flavour and the stories behind them are fascinating. All of the cheese featured are available to buy from either a traditional high-street cheesemonger or direct from the producer online”.

Godsells Artisan Cheese is hand-produced at Church Farm in Gloucestershire and made with pasteurised milk from their own herd of cows, together with one other local farm. For a firmer texture the cheese board includes Godsells Single Gloucester, Traditional Double Gloucester and Holy Smoked Single Gloucester – the only smoked Single Gloucester cheese in the world.

Hartington Creamery was originally established by the Duke of Devonshire in the 1870s and today they hand-make a range of award-winning cheeses in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales. The cheese board features three types of Hartington’s Peakland White – plain, chilli and cranberry and orange along with the orange-coloured Shropshire Blue and Dovedale Blue, a mild, creamy blue cheese which due to PDO rules can only be from cows which graze within 12 miles of Dovedale.

Berkswell Cheese is made at Ram Hall Farm which has been in the Fletcher family for three generations since 1881, just one year after Opies was ‘established’. The family have been hand-making Berkswell Cheese for over 30 years using milk from their own flock of Friesland ewes and is a delicious addition to the cheese board.

Ballylisk of Armagh make award-winning, hand-crafted Triple Rose cheese in Ballylisk in Armagh. The farm has been in the family since 1820 and today the fifth generation work the land and are the first to make cheese. For our cheese board, we have included the Triple Rose Single Herd Triple Cream Cheese, for a creamy cheese option, and also the Triple Rose Single Herb Smoky flavour Cheese.

Peter’s Yard produce crispbreads inspired by Sweden but made by skilled UK bakers using a traditional recipe of organic fresh milk, organic flours and sourdough which is fed daily and allowed to ferment for 16 hours before each batch is baked. Ideal for completing the perfect cheese board.

¹ Source: Kantar, December 2019