British cheesemakers have been hit hard by the pandemic this year, with many forced to throw away stock. The industry responded by hosting online festivals and tasting events, as well as launching delivery boxes. But, they still need help.
Buying a cheese hamper filled with treats from UK producers is a great way to support them 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.
Best cheese hampers to buy
500 Years of British Cheese hamper
This selection honours our past, and helps us feel excited about the future. Eat cheese history with five that will take you from the 17th century to today: a recently rediscovered cow’s milk cheese that’s thought to predate cheddar; a creamy, traditionally made stilton with roots in the 18th century; a classic, 19th century-style caerphilly; a buttery soft cheese created in 20th century and a modern, complex goat’s cheese.
Strictly Cheese Night hamper
Great fun for an evening with family or friends, this hamper contains four premium cheeses, plus tasting notes and scorecards, so everyone can rate them on texture, looks and taste. The ultimate at-home cheese tasting experience, for between four and six people.
The Cheesemonger’s Christmas Tasting Selection
Experts at Neal’s Yard Dairy offer a virtual tasting session to watch as you tuck into this box of five of their favourite artisan British cheeses: Baron Bigod, Pitchfork cheddar, Appleby’s Cheshire, St Jude, and Berkswell. The hamper also includes crackers, tasting notes and pairing suggestions.
The Union Jack cheese box
Enjoy four fabulous British cheeses in this red, white and blue-themed gift hamper. There’s Lincolnshire Red, which is a spin on the traditional red leicester; Stichelton Blue, a tangy veined cheese made in Nottinghamshire; Baron Bigod, a brie-style number made with raw milk; and Vintage Lincolnshire Poacher, which is designed to be a cross between mature cheddar and a comté.
Christmas Cheese Selection
Curated by cheese guru and owner of The Courtyard Dairy, Andy Swinscoe, this selection of five cheeses celebrates the best of Britain. It includes St Andrew’s cheddar, Dorstone goat’s cheese, buttery Kirkham’s Lancashire, mellow Sparkenhoe Blue and Tunworth, a Camembert-style cheese. That’s as well as a Spanish-made quince paste to enjoy alongside.
Ultimate Cheesemaker’s Box
A great shout for stilton-lovers, this box from Cropwell Bishop Creamery has plenty of blues. Included is 300g each of classic stilton, Blue Shropshire, Beauvale and cheddar, as well as Tracklements beetroot and horseradish relish and Peter’s Yard sourdough crackers.
Foodie gift guides
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