Marks & Spencer’s Christmas range is ideal for entertaining and gifting

When it comes to seasonal specialities, few retailers get us as excited as Marks & Spencer, so when  got the chance to team up with the brand for a morning of foodie inspiration, we jumped at it. With options for everything from gourmet gifting to after dinner treats on offer, we asked food blogger Sally Prosser, aka My Custard Pie, to share her food pairing and styling expertise. Here, she chooses from Marks & Spencer’s range of signature cheeses, including the festive Cornish Cruncher with Balsamic Onion Star Truckle…

Ask the expert

Sally’s top cheese board tips…

1. A plain wooden tray or chopping board, or a large piece of slate, looks great as a base.

2. Use four to five large blocks of cheese rather than lots of small ones. Even three generous portions are better than lots of little pieces dotted about.

3. Choose cheeses that are contrasting in style, strength, colour and texture. A firm mature Cheddar, a crumbly Cheshire and a more unusual cheese like the Cornish cruncher would work well.

4. Arrange the cheeses at different angles so they are not touching. Start at the edges and fill in the gaps with fruit, nuts, slabs of fruit pastes, crackers and other accompaniments. Group them together and add some grapes, letting the bunches spill over the edges.

We’re all about sustainably produced food here at ,  so the fact that all the salmon in Marks & Spencer’s exclusive Lochmuir range is 100 per cent Freedom Food certified by Britain’s RSPCA is music to our ears. Slow-grown to develop a superior taste and texture, the salmon enjoys an enriched diet and swims freely in fast-flowing water with low stock densities, meaning a more flavourful, as well as a more ethical, product. Win-win.

Marks & Spencer has been working with the same family-run shortbread company for 10 years now. The small Scottish bakery works to a traditional recipe using only four ingredients – flour, butter, sugar and salt – and no added nasties, meaning (reasonably) guilt-free goodies.

Marks & Spencer store locations: Dubai Festival City Mall, Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira, City Centre Mirdif, Wafi Mall, Al Ghurair Mall and Ibn Battuta. In Abu Dhabi: YAS Mall, Fotouh Al Khail Centre, Marina Mall and Dalma Mall. In Al Ain: Bawadi Mall. In Ras Al Khaimah: Manar Mall.