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Look out for these 10 great cheeses on restaurant cheeseboards
A fruity, ivory-coloured hard cheese produced in Savoie. The best, Beaufort d’Alpages, is made with end-of-summer milk from the high Alpine pastures.
Only three Somerset cheddars meet the criteria of the prestigious Slow Food Praesidium. Keen’s is creamier and softer. Westcombe Dairy has more bite. Montgomery is drier and fruitier.
One of the stronger of the several cheeses produced in Burgundian monasteries. Washed in local eau-de-vie, it becomes almost runny when fully ripe, at around two months. Eat without the rind.
This forgotten Welsh miners’ cheese has been revived at Gorwydd Farm near Llandewi Brefi. It’s a creamy cheese, about three months old, with citrus and mineral flavours, firm at the edges but crumbly towards the centre.
Made in central Spain with whole milk from Manchega ewes, this is a hard, pressed cheese, though it may have a few small holes. Fresco, about two months old, is sweet, but curado, eaten at around one year, is powerful and mouth-filling. Unpasturised Manchego is better.
A sheep’s milk cheese found throughout Italy in many guises. In Sicily it’s eaten fresh, a few days old. Pecorino romano is hard and aged. Pecorino sardo can be eaten young but is often aged, dense and crumbly. Pecorino di fossa is first buried for three months then eaten with fruit or honey.
In Savoyard, ‘re-blocher’ means squeezing a teat a second time to extract the sweetest milk. This is a washed rind cheese with a velvet-smooth texture and pale yellow colour. The very best is the grassy, seasonal Reblochon Fruitier, made in summer.
Seven producers make this salty, open-textured, blue ewes’ milk cheese from southern France. Look for Papillon or Gabriel Coulet, which are both excellent. When cut, Roquefort should hold its shape.
Stilton must be made in a region that includes parts of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Colston Bassett, or relative newcomer Quenby Hall, are probably the best examples on offer.
This full-fat cheese, made from both raw and pasteurised milk, originated in Lombardy. Made as a rectangular slab and washed during curing, its taste varies from dairy to dairy. Its texture is springy and a chalky core indicates lack of ripeness.
For a list of the best London restaurant cheeseboards please see the Square Meal Guide 2009.