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It’s fun to customize a board around a particular place in the world. I have a French cheese board, an Italian antipasti and a Mediterenean Mezze. So I figured I should add in taste of Britain (inspired by my Scottish roots) here too!
The English Cheese Course
I love this board as an after-dinner plate. Yep! Cheese for dessert. While here in America, cheese boards are most often thought of as pre-meal appetizers, in other parts of the world (like Europe), a cheese course often served after a meal.
It’s particularly popular in France and England. In fact, in France they traditionally serve it after dinner and before dessert, whereas in England, they serve it as a final course after dessert.
This cheese course doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as few decadent cheeses coupled with an after dinner drink (more on that below). Less is more here, especially because you’ve conceivably already had a meal. So instead of adding salami and salty nuts like I normally would to a first course cheese board, I focused on cheese, fruit and a few sweet treats.
My Very English Cheese Board
My mom is British and I have fond memories of beautiful rich cheese plates when we visited family in England. In my memory, we sat catching up with relatives for hours after dinner, enjoying the cheese. Perhaps it’s because I was a kiddo at the time and they knew my taste for stinky cheeses was yet to be revealed, but it was always paired with fresh fruit slices, shortbread, or digestives.
Here are the 4 English Cheeses I used on this board:
- Stilton—This is England’s blue cheese. It’s tangy, creamy and strong. You must try the classic pairing of Stilton and Port. Pure decadent elegance!
- English Farmhouse Cheddar—This is one of the sharper ones of the bunch. It’s an aged cheddar, sweet and crumbly. I cubed it on the board.
- Red Leicester—This is mellow and mild, similar to a mild cheddar, but more moist. It is my favorite of the bunch!
- Double Gloucester—Also sharp, this cheese is sweet and creamy. I cut it into triangles to differentiate it from the Red Leicester.
If you’re looking for more English cheeses or other cheeses from around the world, here’s a great online resource for imported cheese.
Where to Find These British Cheeses
Note that the Stilton and English Cheddar are the easiest to find. I spotted them at various grocery stores (Ralph’s, Whole Foods, Gelsons). The Red Leicester and Double Goucester were more challenging. I found them at one of my local Gelsons and I suggest calling in advance.
Easier to find are some more savory cheeses, like Red Dragon (made with whole grain mustard and ale) and a Cotswald Cheese (a version of the Double Gloucester blended with onion and chives). I found them at Ralph’s and Whole Foods. I purposely left them off here because this board is a dessert course cheese plate, but they would be great additions to your other boards.
Also take note of crowd pleaser, Huntsman Cheese, a combo of Double Goucester and Blue Stilton, found easily at Trader Joe’s and a few other groceries.
British Specialty Items
There are some specific additions to this board that will make it delicious but also very British. I found most of the specialty items at World Market. It’s basically my go-to for any international board.
- Shortbread– these mild sweets are great on this board or with tea. There are tons of great shortbread, Walkers is the best brand. I used these adorable British Flag Union Jack cookies. Probably a little on the nose, but I couldn’t resist.
- Digestives– originally a Scottish thing, these are everywhere in the UK. It’s also a mild cookie, with a hint of sweetness but not overly sweet. You can easily find Digestives on Amazon or Digestives at World Market.
- Port Wine– a very European wine (from Portugal), most often served after dinner as a dessert wine. It’s typically sweet (perfect for dessert), but there are dry versions that aren’t as cloying. If you serve port with this board, it will pair deliciously with the rich cheeses. If you haven’t tried the infamous pairing or Port and Stilton, make it your mission… the Brits will be proud. Note, this is different than Port Wine Cheese, a much less sophisticated American invention, that’s pretty damn amazing as a cheese ball. Look…I’m here for the classy and the trashy. No cheese discrimination here.
When To Serve This
Make this special treat for holiday get-togethers with the family—whether for a casual meal or a fancy celebratory feast. A simple and refined English cheese board is a great way to end a warm meal.
- Boxing Day—the day after Christmas, is almost more of a holiday in Britain than Christmas Eve. Everything stays closed, and Boxing Day is to be spent with family. It’s called Boxing Day because it’s the day you “box” all of your leftovers up.
- Sunday Roast—if you want to go the extra-British mile, cook a big roast for Sunday supper. Then serve this cheese board as dessert. Cheers!
Where to Get this Board & Accessories
As always, I add a SHOP THIS POST at the bottom of every post to link the items used. If an item isn’t available, I will link to a similar item. This is the case for the wood board used here…
- The cheese board is no longer available, but I found a similar wood board from Crate & Barrel and this slightly smaller wood cheese board from World Market.
- The gold honey dipper is from Ikea (available Amazon). It’s slightly smaller than this beautiful 6in gold honey dipper. But, I’ve also included a similarly shorter wood honey dipper option in the SHOP THIS POST below.
- The 2.5 oz ramekin used here is smaller than the size I normally use as well. I usually favor the 4 oz ramekins for my boards, but used a small one that was perfect for the anticipated amount of honey used.
Show Me Your Cheese
And, If you liked this board recipe, please rate and review.
An English Cheese Board
- English Farmhouse Cheddar
- Red Leicester
- Double Gloucester
- Shortbread Cookies
- Small Pomegranate
- Gather the best English Cheeses
- Slice or cube the hard cheeses (Ie. English Cheddar & Double Gloucester)
- Set cheeses down, at various corners around the board
- Pace ramekin of honey in the center of the board
- Add bunches of grapes on each side
- Fan Digestives and Shortbread Cookies around the honey and the opposite ends of the board
- Fill in with fruit and nuts