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.
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.
It’s Burns Night on Sunday and so what better excuse to
mail-order a mahoosive haul of cheese explore another historic Scottish cheese? This time last year I plumped for Caboc, which even its own producer describes as having ‘a taste which should stay in the 1970s’. I have to say I couldn’t disagree with him and so I was hoping for something a little less…ahem…idiosyncratic this time around. The big question though of course remains: will I be able to shoehorn a mention of Robert Burns into this week’s post? So, settle down on your hurdies and get a load of this week’s cheese down your weel-swall’d kytes: I bring you Dunlop.
Given that tomorrow is Burns Night, I thought I would take the opportunity to correct the terrible fact that I haven’t yet featured a Scottish cheese (I know, I know, the shame etc.) So, without further ado, I offer up a suitably cheesy excerpt from The Holy Fair by one of the first cheesemongers of Scotland (oh yes, read on fact fans), Mr Robbie Burns:
Here farmers gash, in ridin graith,
Gaed hoddin by their cotters;
There swankies young, in braw braid-claith,
Are springing owre the gutters.
The lasses, skelpin barefit, thrang,
In silks an’ scarlets glitter;
Wi’ sweet-milk cheese, in mony a whang,
An’ farls, bak’d wi’ butter,
Fu’ crump that day.
Burns was no stranger to cheese, as his mother was a peasant cheese-maker; as a boy he often helped out, selling the cheese locally (which makes him a cheesemonger in my book). And so, without further ado, raise your whisky glasses, butter your neeps and say hello to Scotland’s oldest cheese, Caboc: