Value for Money Christmas Special

Cheese boards



Part of the fun of buying from this great cheesemonger is going into the shop and tasting the cheeses they have on display. This gift box was sourced in Avoca, so sadly that opportunity didn't materialise. Still, this is a great selection: Hegarty's cheddar, Cashel Blue, Durrus and a mini St Killian's, which stinks to high heaven and is all the better for it. Also in the hamper are some good rye and linseed crackers and a jar of tasty chutney, everything sitting on a bed of straw. The cheeses are in very good condition, and, while it is expensive, it is also the best and worth the expense.

Verdict: For the love of cheeses.
Star rating: *****


Cheeseboards are much more commonplace in modern Ireland, and it is no longer only specialists who sell them in the run-up to Christmas – they can be found in all supermarkets. This one is not bad at all. With blue cheese, goat's cheese, Camembert, Cooleeney, Wensleydale and mature cheddar, it also has the widest variety. It comes with small pot of pepper relish, which is nice but could do with being four times as big. This doesn't have the wow factor of the Sheridan's hamper and the cheeses aren't anything to rave about, but it is unlikely to be left uneaten.

Verdict: Good value.
Star rating: ****



This comes in at a third of the price of the most expensive option and while it is no where near as good, it's grand. Hats of to Spar for including a board with their cheese although we're not sure we really need any extra clutter in our lives. And hats off to the company for at least making a stab at a high-end cheese option and taking the most convenient route by only selling mass produced blocks of frequently tasteless cheddar and easi-singles. Some of the cheese lacked the pungency we were looking for and not of it had benefited from being encased in plastic but it was by no means terrible.

Verdict: A decent effort.
Star rating: ***

ALDI €9.99

If you have any doubts about Aldi's ability to source gorgeous Irish artisan products, this should put your mind at rest. All four cheeses are Irish, and all four are extremely tasty. The only problem with the vintage cheddar and the Camembert and the blue cheese – those last two are made in Tipperary – is that there isn't enough, and might not satisfy more than two adults for very long. The blue is lovely, the Camembert perfectly soft and the mature cheddar great – although the olive-flecked version might not be to everyone's taste. The board is nice. As is the price.

Verdict: Great value.
Star rating: *****

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor