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Picnic top tips – just add cheese!

Forget soggy sandwiches or limp salads…  the UK’s oldest cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield (www.paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk) has top tips for enjoying cheese al fresco this summer. Cheese is easy to transport, while there are a million use for leftovers. And you save a fortune on pier-side dining!

Ros Windsor, managing director of Paxton & Whitfield, said: “Cheese is such a versatile food to use, which makes it ideal to include in al fresco meals and summer picnics. You can enjoy it as part of a Ploughman’s lunch using a delicious artisan Cheddar and it’s perfect as a key ingredient in some tasty sandwiches. Why not make a simple but appetising summer salad with some Feta, green leaves and olives to create a Greek salad or some Mozzarella, basil and tomatoes for a Mediterranean one? Finally, if you’d like to cook a dish to enjoy outside then a Quiche Lorraine with Gruyère is a mouth-watering summer classic.”

Here’s some ideas:

  • Splash out on an artisan cheddar, like Montgomery’s. Broaden the kids’ palettes and impress adult friends. A selection of fresh breads, crackers and chutneys are all you need to accompany – add a couple of packs of Violife vegan cheese slices to cover all bases (available at Sainsburys).
  • For the adults, add 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. Drinks to enjoy with it – If you’d like to enjoy something to drink with it you can opt for a light style of red wine. That will work as a good all-rounder.

  • Other things to consider:

    • 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.

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Editor in chief Suzi Dixon studied at Bournemouth university, went away for a while to work at The Daily Telegraph, then moved back to the sunny South coast for a quiet (er) life. Bournemouth News & Info is her website and she is assisted by the fabulous Fred From France in all things geeky and technical. Hire us to make your website, too, if you like.

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