The festive season is certainly upon us, with less than a month until Christmas.
The stores are decorated, the carols have started (far too early in my mind) and the preparations have begun with cards, gifts and thoughts of indulgent Christmas dinners.
In the years since I started making cheese, it’s been my honor to break out a good home made cheese later on in the early evening when lunch has settled and the family feel like just a little nibble more.
So last week I set up six lovely raw milk Camembert to age over the last few weeks before Christmas, ready to be enjoyed for Christmas supper.
A good packet of crackers, dishes of various home made chutneys and a few rounds of Camembert or Brie, or a tub of Neufchatel and the day’s final feast is perfect.
Home made cheese isn’t only appreciated as a luxury at Christmas dinner though. In my experience most people appreciate a batch of home made cheese as a gift, so, instead of getting on board with all the thoughtless consumerism that is rife at this time of the year, why not give the personal gift of home made cheese for Christmas?
If giving the people you care about some of your home made cheese sounds like a good idea there is still time to make some great cheeses to give as Christmas gifts:
Feta – a nice jar of Feta in oil with garlic and a few herbs not only looks great, but tastes great too.
Haloumi – a cheese that is expensive to buy, but so cheap and easy to make and a lot of people have never tried ‘squeeky cheese’, so it has a novelty factor too.
Cream Cheese – add your own special herbs or other flavors and tart it up in a decorated jar with a Christmas ribbon.
Mozzarella – have fun spinning this cheese with love for your family for Christmas
Neufchatel – French cream cheese traditionally molded in a heart shape but also perfect for trying your hand at a few Christmas shapes.
Of course if you want to make hard cheeses, that can be aged by your loved ones, you can but choose cheeses and preserving methods that take little to no care so that you don’t burden anyone with blindly trying to care for your precious gift or worse, have them abandon it completely when it spoils.
Do all of the pre-aging work over the next 4 weeks then give cheeses that are waxed or wrapped and need little more than time to perfect them.
Alternatively, if you want to keep all your cheese babies for yourself ; ) but still want to share the home made cheese love, why not give a home cheese making kit as a gift so they can try this awesome hobby out for themselves.
Or, if you think they would be safe enough starting from scratch, buy them a good home cheese making book and inspire them to get started on their own batch of cheese goodness.
Cheese is wonderful any time of the year, but Christmas makes for a great excuse to spread the home cheese making word a little bit further.
Do you have any Cheesy Christmas ideas? Join the discussion over at the Curd Nerd Forum. We would love to hear from you!