This Year’s Christmas cheeses

Just as much fun every year searching to find what which will become the Christmas cheeses. This is my thing, the rest of the family is fairly happy go lucky when it comes to cheese. Pretty convenient, I must say. So now the final cheese has arrived, four kilos and the size of a small chopping goof. Stichelton, an English blue cheese made from raw cow’s milk, in case you have not heard abot it before. So that completes my Christmas cheeses as a couple of bloomy rind cheeses already have arrived, as well as the semi firm Norwegian Fjelldronning.

Stichelton - my blue christmas cheese
The English Stichelton.

White and Blue Christmas cheeses

Stichelton is the blue one, it fits in at the breakfast table as well as at dinner parties, on its own or together with some of the other Christmas cheeses metioned below. The Stichelton has become a family tradition, and we share with family and friends. I even brought some to our wine society’s Christmas meeting Wednesday evening. Much appreciated and served with a Krohn 1997 vintage port. Paired very well they did.
If you happen to live in Norway there are some excellent Norwegian blue alternatives, like Kraftkar, Råblå and Fønix. From cow’s milk all of them, the latter two from raw milk.
But, as it is, my blue cheese is made by an American; Joe Schneider. An American making cheese in England, and is very successful at it. This is artisan work, so small variations over the years may appear. That’s charming. Not a cheese you can just walk into any grocery store to pick up. You would have to go to a cheese shop I reckon.
In case you do not know the history of this cheese, Stichelton is a Stilton style cheese made from raw milk, all other similar to Stilton. As from 1989, Stilton must be made of pasturized milk, so a raw milk alternative is closeer to my heart. You make your choices, though. As mentioned above, pairs very well with a good and mature port. If you are on a path to find alternatives, I’ve also tried it with Pineau des Charentes from Bache-Gabrielsen, a fine paring as well.
I’ve made a mention of some bloomy rinds as well. Actually I have three of them. Just in case we don’t have snow for Christmas Eve. I think we will, actually. They are all French.

Brillat-Savarin

This is a comfy cheese, always playing along with you. Triple cream, available on more or less every corner as pasteurized industrial varieties. Mine, however, is made from raw milk and comes from a farm dairy, Juchy. The fat content is about 72 % in dry matter, that is quite a lot. In spite of being made from raw milk, all the cream makes it soft in all aspects of the word. Small portions at the time is what I recommend. I do not know the availability outside France, but I had it in Norway. Far from mainstream, though. The raw version that is.

La Brique Fleurie - a bloomy Christmas cheese
La Brique Fleurie – a bloomy Christmas cheese.

La Brique Fleurie

La Brique Fleurie is very similar to Brillat-Savarin apart from the shape, and the rind seems a little less bloomy. Just as fat, but appears a little slimmer. I think a Champagne will pair well with both these cheeses, alternatively a Cremant de Bourgogne if you’re more looking for a budget companion. A slim and fruity red will also work. No oak, no tannin.

Fjelldronning - my Norwegian Christmas Cheese this year.
Fjelldronning from Avdem at Lesja.

Fjelldronning

Just been writing about this beauty and it is of course represented among my Christmas cheeses. I think you have to live in Norway to get it. Avdem is a farmstead dairy up in the mountains.
If red wine is your thing, this pairs well with it, not necessarily any red, though. Oak and tannin have been mentioned. Better avoid them. Nothing wrong with a Chardonnay, either.

Comtesse de Vichy - another white Christmas cheese
Comtesse de Vichy – one of my absolute favorites.

One of my absolute favorites

Comtesse de Vichy, from a small dairy in St. Just-en-Chevalet somewhat southwest of Roanne in central France. They’ve been making cheese since 2004 and they’re only making about 35 tons a year. One of my favorite bloomy cheeses this. Reminds me of Coulommiers, but have its own identity, by all means. Pairs well with an east-side Bordeaux.

These are my Christmas cheeses, if you have found some inspiration that’s fine, you still have a couple of says to pop out doing a bit of cheese shopping.

I wish you a very happy Christmas! ?

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