People don’t tend to talk about cheese coincidences, do they? Perhaps most people don’t have cheese coincidences. I’m not sure I used to, to be honest, but if you’re going to eat a lot of cheese and read about a lot of cheese, it’s going to happen. And so it was when some friends came round for a fondue night and brought with them the gift of a chunk of cheese. (Kind guests! Wise guests!) The cheese was called Ogleshield and it just so happened that one of the cheeses that was lying in an enormous grated cheese-mountain behind me, ready to be fondued, was Bermondsey Hardpressed. And goodness me, what do you know, they only go and share a Cheese-Daddy! (That’s very different from a Sugar Daddy by the way…)

Here is the Ogleshield (it was vacuum-packed so I don’t think it usually looks quite this shiny):

Ogleshield cheese

Ogleshield is an unpasteurised, washed rind cow’s milk cheese, made by Jamie Montgomery of Manor Farm in Somerset. Montgomery’s Cheddar (made from the milk of Friesian-Holstein cows) is one of the best Cheddars in the country, an absolute cheese-bucket-list must, but the farm also has a herd of Jersey cows which, alas, whilst having very nice eyelashes, are useless for Cheddar-making (as I learnt to my cost with the recent judging of my own Jersey-Cheddar Colin). You would assume that lovely, creamy Jersey milk would be a shoe-in for gorgeous cheese but apparently not; the fat globules are so large that they make setting more difficult and tend to bind in moisture which can make harder cheeses taste funny as they mature.

So it was that when two American wannabe-cheesemakers arrived at the farm, wanting to know the secrets of making great Cheddar, Montgomery set them to work to find a cheesy use for the Jersey milk. After much experimentation, they came up with a recipe somewhere between a Cheddar and a Tomme; the cheese was called ‘Shield’, partly because of its appearance and also because there’s a hill on the farm (that some believe to be the site of Camelot!) where an ancient bronze shield had been found.

The cheese turned out to be perfectly acceptable but lacked the wow factor. Randolph Hodgson of Neal’s Yard Dairy apparently nicknamed it ‘Montgomery’s Lite’ and found it too hard and mild. One of the Dairy’s affineurs (‘cheese maturer’ is the rather less exciting-sounding English equivalent) was no less than Kappacasein’s Bill Oglethorpe, whose name makes it sound like he’s from Ilkley Moor but is actually French and learned his cheese skills in the Swiss Alps. As a pet project, he began washing the rind of the Shields in salt water and letting them sit in a moist room; this locks in more moisture and also results in the sticky orange stinky-feet rind produced by brevibacterium linens bacteria. The cheese was much richer and fruitier and not dissimilar to an alpine Raclette, a cheese characteristically used to make a dish of the same name with potatoes and sometimes smoked ham. A new cheese was born and christened Ogleshield. Some friends of Oglethorpe’s bought him a Raclette machine and his Borough Market stall was born – the same stall where I had purchased my fondue-bound Bermondsey Hardpressed (he also gave me some free yoghurt from under the counter, not yet on sale, made from his cultures; it’s the sweetest natural yoghurt I’ve ever tasted, really good).

And the Ogleshield? Well, it’s a washed rind cheese, so it’s not a shy guy. Its texture is a little more rubbery than British washed rinds like Stinking Bishop and Oxford Isis, probably due to the alpine influence of the recipe. My live-in washed rind hater refused to even try it and I have to say even I found it a bit much to nibble on. In its defence, as I said above, it had been sealed in plastic and I have a feeling that this resulted in a similar effect to when you leave a very sweaty P.E. kit in a carrier bag for the weekend – trapped ponk. Raclette-lovers rave about it though and so I tried some in a subsequent fondue and really liked the oomph that it gave to it. Bill’s Ogleshield Raclettes are regularly voted as one of the best sandwiches anywhere ever so there’s nothing for it, I’ll simply have to return to Borough Market and give Ogleshield another chance…sigh…

Additional research from Cheese Plus, Neal’s Yard Dairy and The Atlantic.


Filed under cheese

31 responses to “Ogleshield

  1. So much eating for the sake of your blog! The things we food (and cheese) bloggers do. 😛

  2. Your dedication to research for this blog is admirable! I keep reading about Borough Market but have never been. Should it be on my list of places to visit next time I venture down to the big city?

    • I love the research as much as the cheese, I find it fascinating. You should see my bookshelf now – I look deranged, there are ancient books about cheese that I’ve ordered off Amazon. Yes, you should definitely go to Borough Market; it’s probably the best food market in London and very seasonal. Be warned though, you will spend a fortune!

  3. It’s a tough job but someone has to eat their way through these mountain cheeses and cheese mountains. We appreciate your sacrifice.

  4. did you see Jamie and Jimmy’s cafe last night? they had a piece about a cheese called colwick which has remotivated me to attempt another fresh cheese, i think I’ll leave the Halloumi for another time.


  5. I tried this in Neal’s Yard yesterday – the cheese boy just kept handing out samples! It was nice, but I don’t know if I could eat a whole sandwich-full though!

    • Yes, that’s how I felt about it too; not sure I’d want it on my cheeseboard. It’s really lovely melted though. What did you buy in NYD – tell me, tell me!

      • I bought some Montgomery Chedder for this weeks New Recipe Night, and some more Stichelton (which might actually be my favorite cheese)

      • Mmm, Montgomery’s, lovely – look forward to seeing what you’re cooking up. Have you tried Colston Bassett Stilton? I actually think I prefer it to Stichelton (shock, horror…)

      • I’ll give it a try – I’m being dragged over to Seven Dials on Saturday so I might just pig out on cheese samples. I love Stichelton but I always forget the name and mumble Shteeletchian at the lad in NY and hope for the best! Recipe post should go live on Friday; its a Cheddar Risotto for Cheese, Please! 😀

      • Oooh, I’ll look forward to that then 🙂

  6. Hi, just found your brilliant blog. I hope you don’t mind but I linked to it from my cheese eating tumblr. All hail Cannon and Cannon! Have you tried the London-made Wildes cheeses from there?

    • Hello – and welcome! I love Cannon and Cannon but, no, I haven’t tried Wilde’s cheese yet as they never seem to have any when I make it there. I really want to go up and meet him too but haven’t managed to yet due to pesky children. Have you tried them? He makes an incredible range.

    • Loving your tumblr work! (http://cheeselist.tumblr.com/) Cannon and Cannon also have Pablo Cabrito (and others) by Sarah H – really lovely cheese. I have yet to try Ticklemore and St James but they are on my list. Have tried the boozy one though which was nice. Do come back for cheesy chats soon – I choose and witter on about a different UK cheese each Friday so would love to know if you’ve tried them and what you think 🙂

  7. I’ve tried Wildes No 4 (here’s my short post on it http://cheeselist.tumblr.com/post/49102224594/wildes-no-4-the-londonshire) but need to get back to C&C soon for some more. My Dad lives in Shropshire now so I get to visit Ludlow food centre a few times a year and sample all the local cheese they stock there. Recently I tried Little Hereford made by Monkland dairy (who do a great tour of their cheese making process and maturing room), and also the fantastic Bewdley Hop. Looking forward to Friday!

  8. I can never get enough cheese!

  9. Pingback: Fromage Friday: Rachel | Fromage Homage

  10. KCN

    Is it OK to eat ogleshield during pregnancy? I’m kind of confused, since I thought that it is purely cheddar cheese :S

    • Well, the rules say no washed rinds, so that’s a no. I think aged cheddars are okay, even if unpasteurised but the rind washing rules it out. Disclaimer: I’m no expert!

      • KCN

        Thank you very much for the reply and explanation.

        It may sound out of topic, but I’ll appreciate any review with experience of having it with baked potatoes in the first trimester. I’ve tried it in Borough Market today and I’m really concerned of having listeria because of it 😦

      • I really wouldn’t worry, the chances of you having listeria are very, very low. I’ve had two babies and remember getting worried because I’d eaten a cheese or salami or seafood that I wasn’t supposed to, by accident. I spent a whole week gorging myself on clotted cream in Cornwall once before I got home and realised it was on the ‘no’ list! It’s done now, there’s no point fretting. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy – and make sure that someone orders you a big hamper of ‘naughty foods’ for after the birth 🙂

  11. KCN

    Thank you so much for these words 🙂

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