Forget the turkey, the stuffing and the Brussels sprouts. For many of us, the cheese board is the crème de la crème of Christmas cooking.
But with every supermarket offering their own take on the dairy shelf, where should you buy yours this year?
Here, we take a look at the cheese platters at each of the major supermarkets to reveal how many shares (cheese) you will get for your share (money).
What do people want in a cheese board?
Before looking at what the supermarkets have to offer, let’s establish what we’re looking for in a pasteurized tray.
We asked which one? members what a cheese board should contain. Cheddar, Stilton and Brie came out on top, each obtaining the approval of over 70% of respondents.
This is followed by Camembert (39%), followed by a “fruit cheese”, such as Cranberry Wensleydale, at 35%.
In terms of price, our survey found that most people planned to spend more than £ 10 on their cheese platters, with three-quarters saying they would spend £ 11 or more.
It’s a healthy budget if you plan to put together your own selection of cheeses. But our research found that buying a supermarket selection pack can make things a lot cheaper and easier – and you can always increase your prepackaged selection with a few extras for more excitement.
Cheapest supermarket cheese board
Our cheese-loving researchers compared selection packs from seven of the eight major supermarkets (we couldn’t find a comparable board at Lidl).
Almost every board contained brie, cheddar, red Leicester, Stilton and Wensleydale with cranberries. Waitrose also added goat cheese, while Morrisons went rogue with Bleu D’Auvergne and smoked cheddar rather than Stilton and Wensleydale (and even added a wooden board to serve them).
Comparison of supermarket cheese platters
Links will take you to more details on retailer websites.
|Product||Pack price *||Price per 100g (from lowest to highest)||Cheese included|
|Selection of Aldi Emporium Christmas cheeses (430g)||£ 3.69||86p||Brie, cheddar, red Leicester, stilton, cranberry Wensleydale|
|Selection of 5 Tesco cheeses (500g)||£ 5||£ 1||Brie, cheddar, red Leicester, stilton, cranberry Wensleydale|
|Selection of Sainsburys Favorite Cheeses (456g)||£ 5||£ 1.10||Brie, cheddar, red Leicester, stilton, cranberry Wensleydale|
|Asda Classic Cheese Board (450g)||£ 5.00||£ 1.11||Brie, cheddar, red Leicester, stilton, cranberry Wensleydale|
|M&S cheese board favorites (530g)||£ 6 at Ocado||£ 1.13||Brie, cheddar, red Leicester, stilton, cranberry Wensleydale|
|Waitrose cheese board favorites (565g)||£ 7||£ 1.24||Brie, cheddar, goat cheese, red Leicester, stilton, cranberry Wensleydale|
|Morrisons Festive Cheese Platter (480g)||£ 6||£ 1.25 (but the pack also includes a wooden board)||Brie, cheddar, red Leicester, Bleu D’Auvergne, smoked cheddar|
* Prices verified between November 26 and December 8.
Who? The members’ top three cheeses – cheddar, stilton and brie – were in almost every package.
In contrast, all of the packs contained Red Leicester, which finished in eighth place in our survey, while none contained Camembert, which four in 10 saw as a worthy addition to their cheese board.
Gallery: what the packs look like
How much of each cheese do you get with each product?
We bought cheese platters from six of the supermarkets and measured the cheeses to get a glimpse of what yours might contain. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a board in Asda.
Cheddar and Brie tended to weigh the heaviest, followed by Red Leicester, Wensleydale with Cranberry, and Stilton. The difference between cheddar and stilton was 50g in the case of M&S.
The graph below shows the proportion of each of the “five classic” cheeses.
If you’re like our poll respondents, you might be disappointed to see the Red Leicester supplied in such large chunks and the stilton supplied in spicier slices.
If you’re happy with your cheese board that contains mostly brie and cheddar cheese, these prepackaged supermarket selections might be for you. But if you are a super stilton fan, you had better put your own together.