Category Archives: cheese

St Tola Ash Log

With the faint promise of spring hanging in the air, it seemed only right that the first cheese out of the Pong Cheese Irish Selection Box should be the goat’s cheese. It’s at this time of year that fresh goat and ewe’s milk cheeses start to proliferate after a winter break when the animals tend not to give milk. As with the other cheeses in the box, St Tola is not shy and retiring, in appearance or taste:

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Pong Cheese: The Irish Selection Box

Writer G. K. Chesterton once wrote that ‘poets have been mysteriously quiet on the subject of cheese.’ It could also be said that, in comparison to Welsh, Scottish and English, this blog has also been somewhat tight-lipped on the particular subject of Irish cheese. Not entirely – Brewer’s Gold and Coolea have both featured – but still, some work to be done to redress the balance. So, with St Patrick’s Day just around the corner, when online cheese specialists Pong Cheese asked me if I’d like to review their Irish Selection Box, it seemed positively serendipitous.

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Sparkenhoe Cheese and Black Pepper Muffins

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English muffins, that is. Not your blueberry-stuffed American monsters. We’re talking bread not cupcake. This was the first time I had attempted to make an English muffin and I was nervous, especially considering the time you need to fry them for. But, aside from the time needed to prove them, they turned out to be no bother at all. In this recipe, Sparkenhoe and black pepper come together to pep up a classic.

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High Weald Halloumi

I once got to be a cheese judge at a proper cheese show. I didn’t write about it at the time because I was a (very) last minute stand-in and so felt like a bit of a fraud. Plus, I didn’t take any photos because I was too busy trying to appear competent. I learned a lot that day but most of all I learned that tasting more than a dozen, uncooked, salty varieties of halloumi is not in any way a pleasant task. So, I present today’s cheese grilled and garnished, rather than in its raw and naked state. Any other way still makes me shudder.

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Ticklemore

You know that your cheese obsession is getting out of hand when you realise that you’ve got favourite rinds. Manchego is always a beauty, criss-crossed like a cheese in a tweed jacket. Back on the British Isles, I love the unusual Suffolk Gold which is covered in grey furry moleskin, the dramatic navy-brain of Isle of Wight Blue and, of course, the jade livery of Cornish Yarg, which my photography skills could never do justice to. This week’s flying saucer of a cheese could also be a contender.

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Tornegus

Some cheeses have the whiff of legend about them. Tornegus whiffs of both legend and old dishcloths, what with it being a washed rind cheese. You might not have heard of Tornegus but its family tree takes in some of the greatest British cheeses and their producers.

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Black Crowdie

There are many fine Scottish cheeses I could have brought to you on Burns Night: Lanark or Dunsyre Blue, gorgeous cheeses sadly not currently in production; punchy cheddar types from the Isle of Mull or Barwhey’s; the stunning enigma of a cheese that is Paddy’s Milestone; or the bluest blue cheese ever seen, Hebridean Blue. Instead, dear reader, I’m bringing you a cheese from the time when Nordic men with big beards spelled trouble rather than the launch of a hipster hygge café.

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Norfolk White Lady

So, turns out that today is #CheeseLoversDay. Other than a hashtag, I’m not sure what this consists of but it did seem to mean I had to write something. Then I started to worry: if I post about a particular cheese, will all the other cheeses think that I love that cheese the most? Finally, I got a grip and decided to just write about the last cheese that I bought, on a recent foray to East Anglia.

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Savoyard

Sometimes cheeses come to me as a mystery to be solved. When my in-laws presented me with a piece of Savoyard, I assumed from the name it was French. ‘Oh no,’ says mother-in-law, who knew everything there is to know about cheese before I was even born. ‘I think it’s made down the road from us, in Wiltshire.’ So began The Search for Savoyard.

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Doublet

The end of the year. A sudden drop in temperature restores more seasonal climes and, with that, a craving for stodgier, heartier, fattier foods. As luck would have it, my in-laws recently bought me this cheese, Doublet, that they’d bought at their local market. And boy, does it ever fit the bill.

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