Cheesed off with the same old festive cheeseboard? Swap the usual Christmas favourites for these lesser-known varieties

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Brilliant alternatives for your Christmas cheeseboard

Via Jordan Johnson / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: winestyr

Stilton, brie, cheddar: the holy trinity of festive cheese. But hang on a sec – there are some other big cheeses in town. Try these crowd-pleasing Christmas swapsies or shake things up with some of the newer varities.

If you love cheddar


Go for Comté, Montagne du Jura, a wonderfully aged Gruyère or a rich and fruity Piave

These European mountain cheeses, (so-called because their longevity made them scrumptious sustenance for mountain folk during winter) are made from cooked curd, pressed under weights. They have a hard, slightly dry texture with moreish brown sugar notes.


Feeling adventurous?

From the highlands to the low country, serve up a slab of extra mature Dutch gouda. Slightly mellower than cheddar, it’s full of fabulously rich caramel flavours. 

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Via Rebecca Siegel / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: grongar

Hands up for Gouda


Swap the Stilton for


Montagnolo Affine

Slightly less strong than Stilton, this creamy, marbled German blue has a much wider appeal (even the kids will eat it!). Mild and buttery with just the right amount of tang, this beauty is a real winner. 


Fancy something stronger?

Choose Roquefort. Salty, sharp and pungent, this intense cheese isn’t for everyone (though allegedly Emperor Charlemagne couldn’t get enough). For something in between, throw a creamy Gorgonzola dolce into the mix, brimming with rich winey notes.

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Via Marc CARAVEO / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: twintopiste

It might look harmless, but Roquefort can divide and conquer


Better than Brie


Try a Camembert Pays

Think of this super-smooth customer as a kind of ballsy brie – it’s got more flavour, more character and is even a bit richer. Leave out of the fridge for a few hours before serving so it starts to spread over your cheeseboard in a gooey hunk of deliciousness. Nom.


Something more unusual?

From the Champagne region of France, Chaource goes down particularly well with a glass of bubbles (like most things in life, then). Deliciously buttery and rich with slight lemony notes, it’s a posher and more unusual choice, guaranteed to impress the gourmand.

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Via Christophe ALARY / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: archipel2005 

If you can get over that brainy exterior, Chaource is scrumptiously soft


Cheese traditionalists look away now

Additive cheeses (that’s cheese with added flavourings to you and me), are much maligned by cheese purists who prefer their curds aged in caves and time-honoured recipes.


Wensleydale with sticky fig and salted caramel sounds like it shouldn’t work but trust us, it does – just tell anyone who disaproves that it’s for the kids and then watch them scoff the lot.

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Sticky fig and salted caramel wensleydale

Via Twitter / Sainsbury's

Silence the naysayers! Salted caramel and wensleydale works. End of. 


Across the board

Complete your selection with a young and fresh-tasting goats’ cheese. Chabichou (cute name or what?) is a traditional, unpasteurized variety, and the perfect start to your cheesefest.


All you need then is a string of redcurrants, a bunch of grapes and a scattering of nuts. Serve with a jug of celery on the side, tawny port or a sweet sherry to quaff and walnut bread. Life's pretty good isn't it?

Is a festive cheeseboard complete without the classics? Or should we all be trying something new? Tell us what you think in the comments below