The ultimate cheese and chutney flight pairings

You’ve heard of wine-pairing with a fine-dining meal… How about taking the same geeky approach to matching crackers and chutney to the cheeses on your Christmas cheeseboard? Once you try these pairings, you’ll see what a difference the choice of cheese and cracker can make. When the two work in harmony, it’s a beautiful thing.

By Patrick McGuigan

The ultimate cheese and chutney flight pairings

Wise men, wishes and French hens. All good things come in threes. None more so than the eternal triangle of cheese, crackers and chutney. But deciding which biscuit and pickle to pair with a cheese isn’t as simple as it sounds. Important factors must be considered, from crunchability to goo levels and the all-important question of chutney-to-cheese ratio. Get everything working in harmony and you reach cheeseboard nirvana. Welcome to the great big Christmas cheese, cracker and chutney flight!

Cheese type: Cheddar

Top choice of cheese: Keen’s cheddar (Waitrose) has a mustardy heat that makes tongues tingle, so requires a hearty biscuit for ballast.
Crackers/chutney pairing: Spelt Oaty Biscuits from Rude Health are just the ticket, while a drizzle of Irish Black Butter adds a burst of sweet acidity. Not a butter (despite the name), this sticky condiment from Northern Ireland is made with Armagh bramley apples, treacle and brandy. It’s black gold for cheese.
Also try… Orkney oatcakes with apple and pear chutney.

Cheese type: Soft

Top choice of cheese: There’s a glorious funk to a gooey camembert de normandie, which is all wild mushrooms and brussels sprouts (ideal for Christmas).
Cracker/chutney pairing: Crispy Peter’s Yard Pink Peppercorn Sourdough Crackers have a fragrant heat that pierces the richness of the cheese, while the umami of Paxton & Whitfield’s Black Garlic Pickle wrestles it into submission. Go easy though. An 80/20 cheese-to-chutney ratio is plenty.
Also try… Jacob’s Savours Salt & Black Pepper Crackers and a caramelised red onion chutney.


Cheese type: Mixed milk

Top choice of cheese: Mixed milk cheeses are a rarity in the UK, so Queso Iberico (Tesco, Sainsbury’s) is a bit of a curiosity. Made with cow, sheep and goat’s milk, the cheese is similar to manchego but with greater piquancy.
Cracker/chutney pairing: A crisp Bath Oliver is a solid platform, echoing the cheese’s buttery flavour, while a blob of Fine Cheese Co’s Damson Fruit For Cheese – a firm fruit paste – brings plummy finesse.
Also try… Carr’s Table Water Biscuits and fig chutney.

Cheese type: Blue

Top choice of cheese: A slice of stilton on fruit cake is a wondrous thing, but it’s a serious commitment after Christmas dinner.
Cracker/chutney pairing: Miller’s Fig & Sultana Toasts (Waitrose) are a lighter alternative, picking up on the fruity flavours of the blue but with contrasting crunch. Take it up a notch with a spoonful of Pear, Orange & Ginger Chutney from Rosebud Preserves.
Also try… Dark chocolate digestives and a sprinkle of freshly ground coffee.

Blue cheese

Cheese type: Goat’s

Top choice of cheese: Kidderton Ash Goat’s Cheese (Tesco, Sainsbury’s) is a classic goat’s log with a velvety rind and bright citrussy flavour.
Cracker/chutney pairing: A slice on a rosemary and olive cracker will have you dreaming of summer hols in the Med. It’s even better boosted with a dollop of fiery Tracklements Fresh Chilli Jam. A trio that says, ‘This board means business.’
Also try… Stag Stornaway Seaweed Water Biscuits and Tracklements Gooseberry Fruit Cheese.

Check out our guide to Britain’s best cheese shops for the ultimate festive cheese shopping experience!

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