Jacob’s festive range has all your cheeseboard needs and for some top tips we teamed up with cheese and wine expert, Matt Day, to create four hero pairings!

Cornish wafers and blue cheese are a match made in heaven

Cornish wafers and blue cheese are a match made in heaven

Matt Day says that “The secret of good flavour pairings is balance - whether this is achieved by pairing ingredients that share similar characteristics (creamy with creamy) or alternatively pairing ingredients that oppose one another (salt with sweet).”

FRESH

Cracker: Grain

Cheese: Soft cheeses e.g. a British Brie

Accompaniments: Fresh fruit such as grapes, apples or figs

Drinks: Dr. L Riesling, or Cawston Press Apple & Elderflower Juice

A grain cracker is a good neutral base for soft cheeses like this, as the kibbled grains and salt granules give a wonderful counterpoint to the creamy cheese. Creamy soft cheeses don't work with red wines as the tannins 'stick' to the cream and rind giving a bitter, metallic taste in the mouth, so for this kind of cheese you need a drink that will cut through the richness. Grapes and apples have a similar flavour to Riesling and add sharpness and freshness to the pairing.

SHARP

Cracker: Cream Cracker

Cheese: Sharp cheeses e.g. Cheddar or Red Leicester

Accompaniments: Red onion jam, pickled onions and pickles

Drinks: Greene King IPA Beer or Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock

The timeless Cream Cracker is the perfect neutral base for a strong hard cheese, with its creaminess complementing the tangy cheese and the crunchy texture cutting through the richness of the cheese. There’s a reason this cracker has lasted 130 years and still remains a firm favourite… Chutneys, which are rich in vinegar, add sharpness to the pairing, drawing out flavour and balancing the richness of the cheese. The pickled onion just adds a whole new texture and yet more bite. Real ales are best when pairing hard cheeses with chutneys and pickles, as vinegar clashes with the flavours of red wines. As an alternative the earthy Dandelion compliments the earthy cheese and has good acidity and enough power to go against the cheese.

SWEET

Cracker: Cornish Wafer

Cheese: Blue cheese e.g. Stilton

Accompaniments: Quince jelly, fresh apricots, poached pairs

Drinks: Castelnau de Suduiraut or Daylesford Apricot Nectar

This pairing will convert even the most ardent blue cheese-phobes! With a rich and buttery flavour Cornish Wafer is equally at home with savoury and sweet combinations, and the crumbly texture gives the perfect counterpoint to the rich blue cheese. Sauternes is a sweet, white wine from Bordeaux with complex aromas of saffron and quince.  This is perhaps the ultimate wine and cheese combination - the intense sweet wine balanced by the tangy, salty cheese. The quince jelly or fruits then echo the flavours and sweetness of the wine or apricot juice.

SAVOURY

Cracker: Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Bakes

Cheese: Hard cheeses e.g. Lancashire, Caerphilly or a British parmesan style such as Twineham Grange

Accompaniments: Cured meats, walnuts, honey

Drinks: Araldica Barbaresco Corsini or Biona Organic Pomegranate Juice

Adding seasoning to any dish helps to bring out the flavours and Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Bakes do just that. These savoury biscuits form the perfect base for a hard cheese and cured meat combination, with their crisp texture helping to cut through the richness. Honey with hard cheese is a classic Italian trick which unites the cheese and wine on the palate, and the salty, sweet, nutty ham and walnuts add in another dimension of complexity. Red wines work best with hard cheeses - if the cheese is mature an older red is better as it has more complex and mellower flavours. As an alternative the tart pomegranate compliments the hard cheese and has good acidity and enough power to go against the cheese.