For Christmas and New Year
Cheese, my favourite food group…….and, what would Christmas be without a cheeseboard. I make it my duty to serve cheese at any time of the day (or night), whether it be festive or not, and even after a frugal bowl of soup for a light lunch, I try to serve a small cheeseboard with fresh fruit or a sneaky slice of crusty bread and maybe some crackers. My favourite hard cheese is Cheddar, a matured sharp Cheddar, and the longer it is aged, the better; so when Davidstow asked me if I was up for a Festive Cheeseboard Challenge this year, I accepted with alarming alacrity. The challenge is easy, well it is for me, I was asked to make an accompaniment or suggest some cheeseboard pairings to go with their Davidstow 3 Year Reserve Special Vintage Cheddar cheese. I was overwhelmed with ideas, but in the end I decided to make a Spiced Fig Jam to serve with the cheese, which would also be perfect to add to other recipes throughout Christmas and New Year.
This jam is a doddle to make and is AMAZING when paired with cheese, but especially mature Cheddar cheese; the sharpness of the cheese is counterbalanced by the spicy sweetness of the jam, and it works on so may other levels too, such as texture and colour. As well as being the perfect festive accompaniment to Davidstow 3 Year Reserve Special Vintage Cheddar cheese, I can see this jam being utterly amazing when dolloped on top of a baked Brie or Camembert, and then there’s the whole ice cream, toast, freshly baked bread and hot steamed pudding way to go too…….as an avid preserver, it’s been one of my favourite jams to date. I realise that fresh figs can be expensive at this time of year, but why not push the boat out and make this rich amber jam for a special occasion, of which Christmas is one, the added spices add a fabulous dimension to its vibrant character and sweet personality without overpowering the figs.
If the recipe yield is too big for you, I made quite a few jars of this gorgeous jam, then just half the ingredients to make a couple of jars to see you through to the New Year, hopefully! So, back to my Festive Cheeseboard Challenge, here’s what I suggest you serve with a big chunk of Davidstow 3 Year Reserve Special Vintage, based on its characteristics:
3-Year Reserve Special Vintage Cheddar from Davidstow is typically matured for at least 3 years. During this extended time, the cheddar takes its own course to develop a deep combination of rich & creamy flavours and crumbly, flinty texture. The smooth and creamy taste makes it the perfect cheddar to indulge in on its own with a fine glass of red wine. It is produced with pasteurized cow’s milk supplied by local Cornish farmers and is suitable for vegetarians.
Festive Cheeseboard Challenge:
For four greedy people serve…….
* One 350g block of 3-Year Reserve Special Vintage Cheddar cheese
* Crispbreads, I used Peter’s Yard Award-winning sourdough seeded wholegrain crispbreads
* One British apple per person, cut into wedges
* One jar of Spiced Fig Jam, recipe below
* A good robust bottle of red wine, a bottle British ale per person or a flagon of scrumpy cider
* At least an hour at the table to savour and enjoy all of the above.
I hope you find my cheeseboard ideas inspiring, and also my recipe for Spiced Fig Jam, which is shared below on a printable recipe card. I’ll be back very soon with some new recipes and also a fabulous review about a river cruise I was on recently, with a guide to some magical Christmas Markets. See you later……..Karen
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post with supermarket vouchers as well as a small cheese hamper. Davidstow 3-Year Reserve Special Vintage Cheddar cheese is only available at Sainsbury’s and Ocado.