Category Archives: cheese features

Aldi’s Artisan British Cheese Range

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First, a confession. When I received an initial email from Aldi’s PR people, telling me that they were launching a new British cheese range, my first thought was along the lines of ‘Euw, that’s unlikely to be pleasant.’ It wasn’t a snobbish reaction against discount outlets but more a terror of supermarket cheese in general. I was once on a panel that had to judge supermarket territorial cheese and it was a fairly dismal experience. It was impossible to tell apart a Wensleydale from a Caerphilly, Lancashire or Cheshire, and the orange versions could equally have been Red Leicester or Double Gloucester. I digress but, in conclusion, I nearly did the British thing of ignoring the email entirely.

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Culture Vultures: The Cheese Bacteria That You Need

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There are several sights you might expect to see on a visit to a Somerset cheesemakers: blotchy black and white cows grazing jade meadows; grown men wearing hairnets; great hulks of maturing yellow cheddar. But one thing you perhaps don’t figure on stumbling upon is a state-of-the-art laboratory complete with microscopes and canisters of liquid nitrogen.
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Barber’s Cheese, Starter Cultures and Success with Soufflés

Twice Baked Cheddar Cheese Soufflés Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar

Contrary to what some of my friends think, I do not, alas, lie on a chaise longue all today quaffing free cheese. Partly because eating cheese lying down is a recipe for indigestion but also because mine is not the kind of blog that gets inundated with freebies. Which is fine by me, as a large part of the fun of it is deciding what cheese to try next.

Recently, however, I got invited to the Good Food Show by the cheddar chaps at Barber’s in Somerset and didn’t hesitate to accept; partly because it seemed free cheese might finally be in the offing, partly because it meant twelve hours on my own without having to attend to anyone’s toileting or answer questions about slugs, but mainly because I had recently found out that Barber’s are the sole guardians of Britain’s traditional starter cultures. For a cheese geek like me, it was an offer too good to turn down.
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The Perfect Autumn Cheeseboard?

I’ve been pondering when to write this post. Any piece of writing about autumn has to legally include the words ‘mists’ and ‘mellow fruitfulness’ but, although strictly speaking, autumn in the UK started last Sunday, I just haven’t been feeling it. It’s been too warm and not very misty, mellow or fruitful at all. Even the conkers aren’t ripe. But then, this morning, I saw this on my walk:

frosty spiderweb autumn cheeseboard

A dewy spider’s web in front of some browning acorns! Lo, it was a sign! I declare autumn officially open.
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The Perfect Summer Cheeseboard?

Believe it or not, last Friday’s Stonehenge hippy-fest marked the mid-point of summer. By now, we should have been frolicking in the sun for a good three months. In true British fashion, our shoulders should be criss-crossed with tan-lines and our feet all hobbit-hard from flip-flops. Myself, I haven’t taken my parka off since last September but every now and then the sun peeks out and I live in hope that warmer weather is on its way.

To many people summer cheese means feta in a salad and picking bits of scorched halloumi off the barbeque but what makes a good summer cheese? And – let’s get greedy – a good summer cheeseboard? I’ve learned that the basis of a good cheeseboard is three to five cheeses and a mixture of animals, texture and interest. And if all else fails, you can do worse than follow the rhyming advice of Blessed are the Cheesemakers: something old, something new, something goat and something blue.
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