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22nd Dec 2019

The expert guide to creating a five-star Irish cheeseboard for Christmas

Leslie Ann Horgan

Gold, frankincense and ALL OF THE CHEESE.

Who among us isn’t hoping that Santa brings us a stay at Adare Manor in Co Limerick? (Google it and pray that you’ve been a VERY good girl this year.)

In the meantime, you can create a taste of five-star glamour at home by following this guide from Liam Simpson – Food & Beverage Manager at The Oak Room at Adare Manor – on assembling the perfect cheeseboard. It’s all delicious and Irish to boot.

1. Shepherd’s Store, Cashel Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers

This is an excellent pasteurised ewe’s milk cheese from the Cashel dairy in Tipperary. Aged for at least six months, this ‘Irish’ manchego is a great start to the cheeseboard with a lovely creamy, nutty flavour.

2. Coolattin Vintage Cheddar, Coolattin Dairy Carlow

This west Wicklow Cheddar will give the best in England a run for its money. Aged two to three years, it’s beautiful crystallisation offers a lovely crunchy texture, with a great fruity caramel flavour – a really big hit on The Oak Room Cheese trolley.

3. Ballylisk Triple Rose Cream, Ballylisk of Armagh

By far my favourite cheese on our trolley here. Single herd, bloomy rind style cheese from Co. Armagh, it’s incredibly decadent, rich and extra creamy. Slightly salty with lemony flavours – a great alternative to brie.

4. Durrus Og, Coonkeem, West Cork

Durrus Og is a washed rind style semi-soft cow’s milk cheese which is a retake on the classic French Reblochon. Very popular cheese in The Oak Room, it has lovely bouncy texture with rich and creamy, slightly pungent flavour. It’s also a great melting cheese for cooking.

5. Young Buck, Newtownards, Co. Down

The dark horse of the cheese trolley, Young buck is a fantastic raw cow’s milk blue cheese made by Michael Thompson. This is stilton on steroids, powerful and creamy, a ‘melt your gums’ type of blue cheese.

The accompaniments

In terms of accompaniments for your cheeseboard, think outside the box in terms of the grapes and chutney.

On the trolley at The Oak Room we have an excellent Truffled Honey, it’s just unbelievable with the Ballylisk triple cream. Quince jelly is also the perfect accompaniment with the harder style cheeses, and if the powerful styles are too much a little square of quince will help.

Candied walnuts add a lovely bit of crunch to your cheeseboard. Chilli jam works well also. All else failing you can always use some of the left over cranberry sauce from the turkey dinner!