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The best Christmas cheese hampers for 2021

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Published: October 15, 2021 at 1:37 pm
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Our round-up of the best one-off cheese hampers and subscription gift boxes for Christmas 2021

BBC Good Food’s group magazines editor Keith Kendrick (a judge for the World Cheese Awards and associate with the Academy of Cheese) has tested the best offerings for your cheeseboard this year – or to give as gifts. Buying a cheese hamper filled with treats from UK producers is a great way to support the producers hit hard by the pandemic this Christmas – whether it's intended for someone else or to treat yourself with. Either way, the festive season is a perfect excuse – as if we needed one – for exploring what this isle has to offer in the way of cheese.

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A note about packaging: all cheesemongers we’ve featured here do their utmost to use recyclable packaging: most cheeses are wrapped in wax paper, and cardboard delivery boxes are insulated with cardboard shavings, zigzag paper or biodegradable Woolcool.

For more gift guides including best chocolate giftsbest coffee gifts and more great best cheese ideas, visit our reviews section to find over 400 buyer’s guides. Create the ultimate personalised gift by putting together a customised BBC Good Food cookbook, or treat a loved one to one of our online cookery courses.

Best cheese hampers to buy

La Fromagerie Family Christmas Classics Board

Christmas classics plus web

They say: ‘We find that people like to stick to the classics at Christmas, and this selection was created with that in mind, using the best examples of these cheeses that we source from France and the UK. The Mont D'or adds something a bit special and indulgent – it's perfect melted in the oven to share as a starter on Christmas Day.’

Total weight of cheeses: 1.25kg

What's in the hamper:

Brie de Meaux

Classic unpasteurised French cheese with a soft velvety texture and a tender bloomy rind. The ideal condition to enjoy this cheese is with the centre of it not too ripe but still slightly firm, yet with the edges of the cheese almost melting.

Keen’s farmhouse cheddar

Unpasteurised cow’s milk farmhouse made clothbound cheddar using a traditional rennet. Full flavoured with a nutty fruity tang & rich vigorous taste.

Vacherin du haut-doubs

The season for the traditionally handmade cheese is short; they start to trickle in at the beginning of October until the end of March. The cheese is meltingly rich verging on tasting like clotted cream. The billowy crust is washed pinky peach with an earthy aroma. The bark around the cheese helps to achieve its texture and perfume.

Colston Bassett stilton

With a well-marbled texture, this blue cheese uses traditional rennet – uncommon among Stiltons – producing a nuttier, biscuity edge to what can otherwise veer towards the metallic.

Extras: 100g pack La Fromagerie Biscuits

Fine Cheese Co. ‘Konnichiwa’ The Cheese & Sake Selection

Fine Cheese and Sake

They say: ‘The Fine Cheese Co. recently partnered with their Belgravia shop neighbours, Pantechnicon, to host a Cheese & Sake Pairing Masterclass. This selection takes its inspiration from the tasting event, pairing Te To Te Sake with three cheeses.’

Total weight of cheeses: 715g

What's in the hamper:

St Jude

Small, soft, wrinkly cow’s milk cheese from Suffolk. Inspired by the French cheese St Marcellin. It has a savoury, rich and buttery flavour with a luxuriously light, almost mousse-like paste.

Comté St Antoine

Unpasteurised French cow’s cheese from the Jura mountain region: smooth, mellow and nutty, with a long finish.

Cashel Blue

Made from pasteurised cow’s milk, this is Ireland’s most famous blue cheese, It’s gentle and crumbly when young, but it matures to become a creamy-textured cheese with a full flavour.

Extras:

  • The Fine Cheese Co. Heritage charcoal squares
  • Te To Te sake, 300ml, 16% ABV
  • Cheese care guide and tasting notes

Available from Fine Cheese Co., £64

Neal's Yard Large Dairy Christmas Collection

  •  Available from Neal's Yard, £105 (from end of October)
christmas_selection_large_2

They say: ‘We are not just a cheese shop. We work with the cheesemaker to develop recipes and support them when things go wrong to select batches. We mature cheese – washing it, turning it, patting it, drying it, tasting it, running experiments to make sure the following year it is the exact ripeness our customers want for Christmas.’

Total weight of cheeses: 2.3kg

What's in the hamper:

2 x Tunworth

Camembert-style cheese characterised by truffley, garlicky and vegetal flavours and a creamy and unctuous paste.

2 x St Jude

Small, soft, wrinkly cow’s milk cheese from Suffolk. Inspired by the French cheese St Marcellin. It has a savoury, rich and buttery flavour with a luxuriously light, almost mousse-like paste.

Cheshire

Well-balanced raw milk cheese boasting rich mineral flavours upfront, a juicy acidity and the succulent yet crumbly texture that is so characteristic of a classic Cheshire.

Berskwell

A hard ewe’s milk cheese with a complex sweetness. Its gentle tang and slightly granular texture often draw comparisons with the Spanish cheese Manchego.

Montgomery's cheddar

Rich, brothy, savoury flavours are the hallmarks of the cheddars chosen by Neal’s Yard. Drier and more stratified than most Cheddars, this almost crystalline nature makes it melt in the mouth.

Colston Bassett Stilton

A blue for those who ‘don’t like blues’, Colston Bassett is made exclusively for Neal’s Yard Dairy. Gentler, sweeter and more balanced than a ‘typical’ blue cheese, it boasts a creamy, buttery paste pierced with the delicate blue veining characteristic of a Stilton.

  •  Available from Neal's Yard, £105 (from end of October)

Burt's Cheese monthly box

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They say: ‘’Small batches allow Burt’s to explore new ideas so each month alongside its flagship Burt’s Blue and Drunken Burt it features a limited edition cheese.’ Available as a 3 or 6 month subscription.

Total weight of cheeses: 780g

What's in the hamper:

Burt’s Blue

Made using pasteurised milk, inoculated with Penicillium Roqueforti (blue mould), which develops on the surface of the cheese. The ‘mouldy coat’ varies seasonally from darker ‘green and blues’ to paler ‘grey and blues’ (and it’s all edible). The flavour is complex and piquant.

Drunken Burt

Washed in Gwatkin’s traditional cider, Drunken Burt has an appley acidity, along with oaky notes from the aged cider barrels. The cheese is soft, yet firm. Younger cheeses have a chalky centre but as the cheese matures the acidity softens and the flavours become more rounded and subtle.

Curd with chilli oil

A soft cheese with a fresh, lactic flavour and smooth texture, topped with a chilli flavoured rapeseed oil. It can be eaten simply on crackers or crusty bread, or scattered on top of pizzas or roasted veggies.

 Quicke's Festive Feasting Box

Festive Feasting Box 07-09-21MattAustin-94

They say: ‘Pairs multi-award winning Quicke's cheese with some of the best accompaniments from across the South West. Curated with effortless indulgence in mind, this box looks to lift the festive cheeseboard to new heights.’

Total weight of cheeses: 600g

What's in the hamper:

Quicke’s mature clothbound cheddar

A rich and buttery cheddar that offers outstanding depth of flavour, which develops as it reaches the back of the palate. Brothy to grassy to caramel notes.

Quicke’s goat’s milk clothbound cheese

Vibrant, almondy, buttery: a delightfully different goat’s milk cheese.

Quicke’s oak smoked clothbound cheddar

Smoked using oak chips from trees grown on the Quicke's estate for a sensuously smoky, buttery flavour.

EXTRAS

  • Clare's Preserves Spiced Damson Chutney
  • Peter’s Yard Rye & Charcoal Sourdough Crackers
  • Cornish Olive Stall ‘The Mix’
  • Capreolus Fine Foods Charcuterie Sharing Platter
  • Mrs Gill’s Country Cakes Fruit Cake
  • Mr Filbert’s Rosemary Sea Salt Peanuts

Cheese Geek - 'The Arnie' Christmas Hamper

TheArnie-OPT1

They say: ‘Arnie is the man who has it all, and now we have the hamper that has it all. This year our cheesy elves have been going crackers, perfecting the Christmas hamper to end all Christmas hampers. Hamper La Vista, Baby!’

Total weight of cheeses: 700g

WHAT’S IN THE HAMPER

Truffle Graceburn

Superbly soft and rich, and of course, British, this is a decadent jar of deliciousness. Based on a Persian feta recipe and infused with black truffles.

Tunworth

Rich, creamy, buttery and smooth, but with a complexity that is a pleasant cabbage-style bitterness. Made from pasteurised cow's milk by Hampshire Cheese. It's finished with a subtle earthy and mushroomy aromas.

Sheep Rustler

A semi-hard sheep's milk cheese from White Lake Dairy, Somerset, with a moreish texture and a hint of nutty caramel sweetness. It's washed in brine which gives the cheese its colourful orange/brown rind with natural mould spots.

EXTRAS

  • Fennel and White Pepper Salami
  • Salted Almonds
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Raw Borage Honey
  • Peter’s Yard Seeded Sourdough Flatbreads x 2

(There is also the option to make the hamper vegetarian with four cheeses – Golden Cross, Waterloo, Sheep Rustler, Truffle Bomb – and no salami.)

Slate Cheese Deluxe East Anglian Selection

Eightyone Photography

They say: ‘Our Deluxe East Anglian Selection showcases six beautiful cheeses made locally to Slate in Suffolk and neighbouring Norfolk. These cheeses are inspired by a variety of recipes from around the UK and Europe and are all handmade using full-flavoured milk from happy herds that graze rich fenland pastures.’

Total weight of cheeses: 1.1kg

WHAT’S IN THE HAMPER

Bingham Blue

Full flavoured and creamy textured cheese with a firm bite and a sweet tang.

Baron Bigod

Soft brie-style cheese made in Suffolk at Fen Farm Dairy near Bungay. The taste is delicate at its centre with yoghurt acidity. As it ages, the flavour becomes creamier and richer with aromas of earth and mushroom.

Norfolk Dapple

A cheddar-style cheese made by Ferndale Cheeses in Norfolk from unpasteurised milk from a local herd of pedigree Holstein-Friesians and traditional ‘cheddaring’ methods.

Suffolk Gold

Light crumbly farmhouse cheese with a golden colour from Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses. It’s made with pasteurised milk from Guernsey and Jersey cows to give the cheese a golden colour with a creamy, buttery flavour with a light tang.

Norfolk Mardler

With its yellow wax coating, Norfolk Mardler is distinctively eye-catching. Inside, its paste is bright white and firm with a delicious creamy taste and subtle hint of goatiness.

St Jude

Small, soft, wrinkly cow’s milk cheese from Suffolk. Inspired by the French cheese St Marcellin. It has a savoury, rich and buttery flavour with a luxuriously light, almost mousse-like paste.

EXTRAS

  • Peter's Yard Original Sourdough crackers
  • Optional wine: Flint Vineyard Bacchus.

Available from Slate Cheese, £47.50/£64 with wine, plus £5.95 delivery

Paxton & Whitfield Cheese Discovery Box

Paxton and Whitfield

They say: ‘Paxton & Whitfield’s cheesemongers have selected four incredible artisan cheeses from across the continent to delight cheese lovers. This selection features more unusual, on-trend cheeses which are not widely available in the UK – the sort of cheese that you might taste on your travels. As many of us have not been able to travel this year, Paxton has done the travelling for you!’

Total weight of cheeses: 950g

WHAT’S IN THE HAMPER

Cremoso

For cheeseboard theatre, nothing beats this soft Spanish unpasterised ewes’ milk cheese: slice off the top and scoop out the oozy sweet and creamy cheese with a cracker.

Schnebelhorn

Named after the highest peak in Saint Gallen, near Zurich, Switzerland, this unpasteurised Alpine hard cow's milk cheese is intensely rich and full – almost meaty – flavoured.

Pecorino Sardo

Made from the milk of Sardinian sheep, Pecorino Sardo has a sharp and salty taste. After being put in moulds, the cheese is immersed in brine, then lightly smoked before being left to ripen in cool cellars in central Sardinia.

Herve

Belgium’s only PDO (Protected Destination of Origin) cheese, Herve is dense yet creamy with a satisfying pungency – perfect if you like your cheeses full of flavour and funk.

EXTRAS

  • Paxton's Farmhouse Butter Crackers
  • Cheese of the World Tea Towel – a 100% organic cotton tea towel illustrated with details of 49 iconic cheeses.

Available from Paxton & Whitfield, £65 + free delivery in the UK

Courtyard Dairy Luxury Cheese Selection

Courtyard Dairy_luxury_selection_206

They say: ‘Luxury Cheese Selection. Six large chunks of some of the most outstanding cheeses available, this is a true luxury cheese selection. Including the outstanding, buttery and tangy Hafod Cheddar, voluptuous Vacherin Mont d’Or, stunning Stichelton, the triple-cream Brie-style Finn, a multiple award-winning goats Gouda from Ireland and that old favourite, Kirkham’s Lancashire,

Total weight of cheeses: 2.75kg

WHAT’S IN THE HAMPER

Vacherin Mont d’Or

Only made for the winter season, Vacherin Mont d’Or is powerful, rich, and often dribbling out of the box! The Vacherin Mont d’Or selected by The Courtyard Dairy is made by one of the most outstanding producers in the region – Sancey-Richard – and then extra-aged until eight weeks old so that the unctuous, rich, and piney flavours can develop fully.

Hafod Cheddar

With only 65 Ayrshire cows providing the milk, this clothbound cheddar is made to a very traditional recipe, giving a cheese that is buttery and smooth, with that special Cheddar tang.

Stichelton

Hand-ladled and made to a traditional recipe but with unpasteurised milk, Stichelton is creamy and nutty, with a rich yet gentle blue note.

Finn

A triple-cream cheese, a classic of the French Parisian style. Extra cream is added to the milk before making Finn, ensuring it has a rich, delectable flavour and smooth texture.

Killeen Goats’ Gouda

Leaving Holland in search of the Irish ‘good-life’, Marion Roeleveld developed Killeen – a Gouda made with milk given by her own goats.

Kirkham’s Lancashire

Third-generation Lancashire-maker Graham still follows the traditional two-day curd method, giving a buttery, yoghurty flavour with a fluffy and light texture that melts in the mouth.

EXTRAS

You can upgrade to include a large bottle of Tawny Port and Quince Paste (£91.95).

Ty Caws - The Ultimate Welsh Cheese Hamper

Ultimate Welsh Cheese Selection Unwrapped

They say: ‘We’ve selected some of the very best cheese from our Welsh producers and curated this gift box filled with a variety of cheese to please all! To accompany the cheese selection, we’ve also included Christmas Day Chutney and Sea Salt Crackers – also made in Wales.'

Total weight of cheeses: 1kg

What's in the hamper:

Cenarth Brie

A true farmhouse brie, made with local organic cow’s milk. It’s rich, buttery and earthy.

Hafod

Traditional cheddar made by the Holden family near Lampeter with milk from their own Ayrshire cows. It’s flavour is buttery, grassy and brothy.

Perl Las

A continental style blue cheese which is creamier than most blues - a great balance of salt with a piquant savoury tang to finish

Teifi Mature

Made to a traditional gouda recipe, this cow’s milk cheese is sweet and caramelly with nutty savouriness.

Golden Cenarth

Pungent but deliciously creamy inside when perfectly ripe. Bake it in the oven for a rich, meaty, creamy dipping cheese.

The Cheese Collective - Festive Box

Unknown

They say: ‘The Cheese Collective is partnered with The Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks. For every box bought, we'll donate a meal to a Trussell Trust food bank on your behalf.’

Total weight of cheeses: 750g-1kg

WHAT’S IN THE HAMPER

The large Cheese Collective Festive Box includes 10 award-winning British cheeses. As standard, boxes include a mix of soft, hard, semi-hard and blue cheeses. Our box comprised:

Brighton Blue

Mild, semi-soft cow’s milk cheese with a mellow blue flavour made by High Weald Dairy, Sussex.

Organic St Giles

Semi-soft creamy cheese with a buttery texture and an edible orange rind. Made from cow’s milk by High Weald Dairy, Sussex.

Bath Soft Cheese

Square soft cow’s milk cheese with a bloomy rind with a hint of mushrooms and lemon flavours.

Sussex Blue

A semi-hard cow’s milk creamy blue cheese from Alsop & Walker, Sussex.

Hereford Hop

Full-fat hard cow’s milk cheese encrusted from toasted hops which give the cheese a sweet mellow flavour and crunchy texture. Made by Charles Martell, Gloucestershire.

Duckett’s Caerphilly

Crumbly and fresh unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese with an earthy flavour from the Westcombe Dairy in Somerset.

Single Gloucester

A mild and slight lactic flavoured unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese with a slight soft, open texture. Made by Charles Martell.

Wyfe of Bath

Succulent nutty and creamy organic cow’s milk cheese from the Bath Soft Cheese Company. It’s made by placing the curd in cloth-lined baskets to drain, and retains the basket shape.

Mayfield

Semi-hard wax-coated cow’s milk cheese with natural ‘eyes’. A cross between Emmental and Comte with a smooth, nutty flavour. Made by Alsop & Walker, Sussex.

Montgomery Mature Cheddar

Handmade, unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese, matured for 12 months wrapped in muslin cloth on wooden shelves. Made by third generation farmer James Montgomery.

EXTRAS

  • Collectable cards, including information about the cheesemaker, flavour profiles, and awards.
  • Large Festive Box includes two jars of Tracklements chutney, and two boxes of Peter’s Yard Sourdough crackers; Small Festive Box includes one of each.
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This page was last updated in October 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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