Ten Tips for the Christmas Cheeseboard

I love cheese at the best of times but at Christmas it’s a must have! Judging by the popularity of the current competition to win a Vintage Organic Cheddar round from Godminster I think it’s safe to say that most of you love cheese too, so you’ll love this Guest Post from cheese expert Juliet Harbutt and Port Salut.Christmas Cheeseboard-(low-res)

Ten Tips for the Christmas Cheeseboard

End your Christmas dinner in style this festive season and earn yourself a reputation for creating a truly memorable cheeseboard with the help of Port Salut and cheese expert Juliet Harbutt. Here are her top ten tips for pulling together a show-stopping centre piece this Christmas:

• A slate or marble cheeseboard is great for creating a lasting impression

• Avoid dressing with grapes and instead decorate your cheeseboard with a few autumnal leaves or sprigs of holly for a festive feel

• Ideally a cheeseboard should have 5 – 10 magnificent cheeses, preferably at least one from each of the seven categories and at least one goat or ewe

• Offer a range of shapes – logs, wedges, cylinders, squares – and cut blocks of cheese into different shapes for an attractive finish

• Order your Stilton weeks in advance, as you would a turkey and ideally buy cheeses you have tasted and had cut at the deli from the original cheese. Buy your soft pre-packed cheeses as near to their best before date as possible for the best taste

• Before serving ensure all the cheeses have come to room temperature – a slither will take 5 minutes and whole Brie will take at least an hour so best to serve similar sized portions

• Avoid very brittle or strong flavoured biscuits as they can overpower the cheese; instead serve with oat cakes or rustic breads that allow you to experience the full texture and tastes of the cheese

• The accompaniments should complement not over power your cheeses, so try pickled walnuts, savoury (not over sweet) or spicy chutney, nuts, dried fruit or fresh apples or pears

• As well as wine, beer & cider also go very well with most types of cheese so encourage guests to have fun experimenting with their pairings

• Ideally store your cheese in a larder otherwise keep them refrigerated in a sealed plastic box, wrapped in their original wrapping or greaseproof paper

For more helpful tips: 

Visit the Port Salut website at www.portsalut.co.uk for Juliet’s downloadable cheese guide, listing all her cheese recommendations for the perfect Christmas board.

Chicken, Leek, Port Salut and Mushroom Fricassee, with Wholemeal Croutons

Today I am sharing another wonderful recipe by Jean-Christophe Novelli and Port Salut. Having made this recently we can certainly recommend it! 🙂


4 x skinned and boneless chicken breasts (cut into thin strips)

2 leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into thin slices

2 x spring onions (trimmed and chopped into thin roundels)

1 clove of garlic (peeled and crushed)

100g chestnut or button mushrooms (sliced)

100g Port Salut (thinly sliced)

50g Port Salut (cut into cubes)

50g breadcrumbs

75ml double cream

25g butter

1 bunch of chives (chopped)

4 slices of wholemeal bread (cut into fingers)

25ml olive oil

1/2 tsp dried herbs

1/2 glass white wine

1 tsp paprika

For the wholemeal croutons:

Place the bread fingers on a baking tray. Brush with olive oil and dried herbs and season with cracked pepper.

Bake in a hot oven until crisp and golden brown, serve on a side plate alongside the fricassée


Heat a griddle pan, brush the chicken strips with a little olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika.

Char-grill the chicken until well coloured and cooked through, remove from the pan and keep warm.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat and then add the leeks and spring onions and sweat until tender.

Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender and soft.

Add the white wine and cream, and bring to the boil.

Add 100g of Port Salut (thinly sliced) and simmer until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick, and then sprinkle in the chives.

Add the strips of chicken and stir until coated with sauce.

Place in an oven proof serving dish and set to one side.

In a bowl combine the remaining 50g of Port Salut (cut into small cubes) with the breadcrumbs and scatter over the top of the dish.

Bake in a pre heated oven (160⁰C) until the crumbs are crisp and golden and the cheese has melted (approx. 15 minutes).



Celebrate Bastille Day with Jean-Cristophophe Novelli’s Crispy granary bruschetta, with poached egg, spinach and a Port Salut glaze Recipe!

This Saturday (14th July) is Bastille Day in France. To celebrate famous French chef Jean-Christope Novelli has created two fabulous recipes in conjunction with Port Salut. Today I’m very pleased to be able to share one of these with you all ‘Crispy granary bruschetta, with poached egg, spinach and a Port Salut glaze’.


4 large eggs

2-3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

4 thick slices of ciabatta bread

25ml olive oil

1/2 tsp dried herbs

400g washed baby spinach leaves

For the glaze

100ml double cream

4 egg yolks

100g Port Salut (thinly sliced)

50g butter

Sprinkle of ground nutmeg

Place the slices of ciabatta on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil and season with dried herbs, salt and pepper.

Place in a hot oven (180⁰C) and bake until crisp and golden brown (approx. 5 mins) then set aside on serving dishes.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar.

Stir with a whisk to start a circular motion in the water and crack in the eggs one at a time, immediately turn down to a simmer – 3-4 minutes for a soft egg, 5-7 minutes for a hard poached egg.

In a saucepan, bring the cream to the boil and reduce for a few minutes to thicken and then remove from the heat.

Stir in the Port Salut and the eggs, allowing the cheese to melt.

In a frying pan, add the butter and the spinach, cover and bring to the boil. When soft and wilted, strain to remove any excess water.

Season with salt and pepper and spoon an equal amount onto each slice of ciabatta.

Top with an egg and mask with the cheese and cream mix.

Place under a hot grill until bubbling and golden brown.

Garnish with snipped chives and serve.