A selection of top tips to guide you through the picnic season from Ros Windsor, Managing Director of Paxton & Whitfield.
For a summer picnic cheeseboard Ros recommends taking harder cheeses as they will travel well and keep their structure better in a cool box and when out on the picnic table/rug. For Ros, a good selection would be an artisan Cheddar (like a Montgomery’s), a Stilton and some Berkswell (a hard ewe’s milk cheese). With these cheeses you have three different styles of cheese to create an interesting range of flavours and textures to enjoy. To accompany your cheeseboard selection Ros suggests a couple of different styles of cheese biscuits, or some bread, and perhaps a well-made fruit chutney. As it’s a picnic you don’t want to be carrying around a lot of things, keep it simple with the minimum of accompaniments.
When to serve – If you are serving a cheeseboard at your picnic, Ros suggests bringing the cheeses out of the cool box about 10 minutes before you want to enjoy them but keep them out of direct sunlight – so they warm up a little and the flavours can enhance.
Amount – It’s worth considering how much other food there will be at a picnic and choosing the quantity of cheese carefully. Unless you’ve selected a fairly hard cheese, you probably won’t want to take any leftovers home afterwards. As part of picnic with several other dishes, Ros recommends about 75g per person. If cheese and bread are going be more central to the meal, allow 100-150g per person. It’s likely that the cheese will be something that people come back to and pick over for a while, so make sure you have plenty of crusty bread!
Accessories – Finally, it’s worth the effort of taking a sharp knife and a small chopping board, which can double up as a serving platter.