This cheese is new to me and also my first foray into the world of Alex James’s range of cheeses. Perhaps it’s because I lived in Manchester in the nineties and so always erred towards the Gallagher brothers in the Blur/Oasis face-off, but I had yet to try any of the bassist-turned-country-squire’s offerings until now, when my friends at Pong Cheese kindly sent me some.
Goddess is a pasteurised, rind-washed, semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese, produced by Alex James Presents. Since launching his cheese venture some ten years ago, James has partnered with several notable cheesemakers to develop his range, including Rory Stone (who makes Caboc and Black Crowdie), Shepherd’s Purse (who make Yorkshire Fettle) and, now, White Lake Cheeses (of Rachel and Eve fame). White Lake Cheeses are based, appropriately enough for this rock ‘n’ roll collaboration, near Glastonbury.
The cheese is made from Guernsey cow’s milk, renowned for its creaminess. As the cheese ages, the rind is washed in Temperley Somerset Cider Brandy. Both the milk and the brandy contribute to the cheese’s rich golden colour, both inside and out. Goddess is ready for eating at just 4-5 weeks but many prefer it to age longer, up to 8-10 weeks, when the flavour becomes more intense.
The rind-washing (or ‘smear-ripening’) with brandy encourages the Brevibacterium linens cultures, which give washed rind cheeses their distinctive orange rind and ‘smelly toes’ aroma. In the case of Goddess, the stink is not a bad one; indeed, she is a relatively delicate flower in the world of washed rinds. The rind is pretty gnarly looking but perfectly edible and, underneath, the cheese is a bright summer yellow, due to the Guernsey milk. The texture is buttery and the taste is rich and savoury without being too terrifying. If you’re a newcomer to the world of rind-washing, this would be a great entry level cheese.
Disclosure: I was sent Goddess by Pong Cheese for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.