Happy St. Patrick’s Day to anyone who celebrates it. Over the last couple of weeks, courtesy of the Pong Cheese Irish Selection Box, I’ve learned a great deal about the history and diversity of Irish cheese. Today’s cheese sums up the island’s cheese renaissance, blending fresh milk from green pastures with inspiration from further afield – in this case, France. As you can see, though, Humming Bark is not a cheese for amateurs. It’s not just flexing its muscles; it’s actually burst through its shirt, Hulk-style.
Tag Archives: gruyere
Norfolk is not a county renowned for its cheese. Asparagus, definitely. Root crops, certainly. Crabs, absolutely. But ask most people to name a Norfolk cheese and they’d be stumped. In most of my cheese books, East Anglia is indignantly lumped in with ‘The Midlands’ and one of the few references I found to Norfolk was that its dairymaids were renowned for being ‘extremely culpable’ at making ‘rancid’ cheese that they allowed to turn into ‘literally so many bags of maggots.’ Not a glowing reference then. However, having already sampled the magnificent Baron Bigod, I decided to risk another Norfolk cheese this week. Interestingly, Norfolk is not renowned for its towering mountain ranges either – the highest point in the county is only marginally loftier than the end of my not-that-hilly London street – so the moniker ‘Alpine’ was also an interesting one. Anyway, without more ado, here is the cheese (and it was cut like that, it hasn’t been savaged by either me or a giant mouse):
When I received a message from Les Greedy Cochons inviting me to their Secret Supper Fondue Club, I’ll admit I felt apprehensive. Firstly, it seemed to go against every aspect of Stranger Danger that had ever been drummed into me:
‘Hello, you don’t know us or even where we live but would you like to come for tea?’
‘Ooh, thank you very much. Do you have some puppies too?’
Secondly, I’ve been pretty much under house arrest by small people for the last five years and have lived my life vicariously through copies of Time Out. Secret Supper Clubs all looked to be inhabited by consummate hipsters – the sort with the attire and facial hair of nineteenth century coal magnates or post-war lindy-hoppers. The last time I was approaching cool The Levellers were in the charts and I just wasn’t sure that was going to cut it.
But then I thought about all the cheese, brushed the sick off the shoulders of my cardigan and headed off to the wilds of North London, clutching only an A-Z and a bottle of dry white wine.