You can’t go wrong at Christmas with a big board of perfectly ripe British cheese.

They might buy it as a present for the cheese lover on their list. Perhaps they’ll use it as an elegant way of feeding the masses. Maybe they’ll just scoff it all themselves. Whatever their motivation, British people spend an estimated £2 billion on cheese at Christmas.

What is more, the cheese we love best these days has very often been produced in the British Isles. According to food writer Hugh Thomas: ‘Sixty years ago, Britain was making one type of cheese. Now, the country’s producing between 700 and 900.

‘It’s the British climate and the resulting lushness of the grass that helps British cheese have the potential to compete with almost anything from anywhere in the world.’

So not only is British cheese a welcome gift for our festive tummies but it is also great for our local economies and for our precious environment. Thus inspired, we have sniffed out the finest cheeseboards in the land.

Main image: Pipers Farm

Truly Great


Paxton And Whitfield


London cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield has been proffering wonderful cheese to the upper crust since 1797. Its ‘Truly Great’ cheeseboard (£45) consists of five British artisan cheeses, which all come charmingly wrapped in wax paper. Buy it here.


Cheese Box


Nettlebed Creamery


‘Good food, beautiful countryside and respect for people underpin everything we do,’ says Rose Grimond, who founded the Nettlebed Creamery on her family’s farm in Oxfordshire in 2015. She and her team have been churning out award-winning organic cheese, unhomogenised milk, kefir and cultured butter ever since. Their Cheese Box (£32) contains a sample of each of their three exquisite cheeses. Taste them once and you’ll never turn back. Buy it here.


Wickerloo British Hamper


The Fine Cheese Company


Anne-Marie Dyas founded the Fine Cheese Company 30 years ago, in the West Country, in order to nurture the production of excellent British cheese. Their cheese, crackers and condiments are to be found on the shelves of the best independent retailers across the country. They big up their irresistible Wickerloo hamper (£50) thus: ‘If looking for an all-British treat/Then this hamper will prove tough to beat/Cheddar and Waterloo/With a baby Burt’s Blue/And partners that match sav’ry with sweet.’ And, in some great news for those of you who like to avoid gluten, they have at last started selling a GF version of their prettily boxed crackers. Buy it here.


The Big Cheese Box


Pipers Farm


At Pipers Farm in Devon, they celebrate small-scale family farming. ‘We passionately believe in producing wholesome natural food that has been grown with respect for nature. Our principles have not changed for 30 years – and you can rest assured that we will continue to produce food that you can trust completely,’ says founder, Peter Greig. Their website is a joy to peruse and, featuring some of the finest British cheeses available, their Big Cheese Box (£54) packs a punch. Buy it here.


Cheese Box


Daylesford


Since Carole Bamford founded it in 2002, the Daylesford brand has become synonymous with luxury. Everything they do, they do beautifully and with a nod to sustainability. They have never used plastic bags in their shops. Bamford says: ‘At Daylesford, we don’t use pesticides or chemicals, and any food waste that cannot be composted is used to produce energy so that we take as little as possible from our environment.’ Their Cheese Box (£35) won’t disappoint. It comes in a pretty, recyclable wicker-effect box and contains four artisan cheeses that are made at the creamery on the family farm in Gloucestershire. Buy it here.


Classic Cheese Package


The Traditional Cheese Dairy


In the heart of East Sussex, the Traditional Cheese Dairy makes a selection of award-winning cheeses by hand, using free-range raw milk from sustainable family farms within the home counties. The Delves family, who own it, says: ‘Our family and the farmers we work with are huge grazing advocates. The animals’ freedom, health and quality of life is paramount. It’s the heart and soul of our business, and, we believe, the future health of our fellow humans and our planet.’ Their Classic Cheese Package (£26) includes five delicious British cheeses. Buy it here.


Meet The Locals


Jericho Cheese Company


This lovely company was established in Oxford in 2016 in honour of British and Irish cheese and their accompaniments. As well as an enticing jar of Buckland honey, the Meet the Locals board (£43.25) includes a piece of Ashcombe (inspired by Morbier) and a whole mini Rollright (inspired by Vacherin Mont d’Or), which are made 34 miles from the door, and a Brightwell Ash, which comes from just 12 miles away. Buy it here.


Festive Cheeseboard


Cornish Gouda Company


Another award-winner, the Cornish Gouda Company has been producing handcrafted artisan cheese on the family farm since 2012. The Spierings family, who are originally from the Netherlands, moved to the UK in 1998 to start dairy farming and diversified into cheese production in 2012. On their Festive Cheeseboard (£28.25) is a jar of spiced cider jelly, delicious sourdough crackers from Peter’s Yard and three hunks of Cornish Gouda. Buy it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
December 2021

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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