Tag Archives: semi-hard cheese

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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Cornish Gouda with Honey and Clover

I recently wrote about my conversion to cheese with bits in (not that ‘full turkey dinner’ stuff, though, I draw the line at that). Whereas I used to shy away from any cheese that had been ‘mucked about with’ (to quote one cheese professional I met), I am now willing to give such cheeses a try, having found such beauties as Posbury and Vulscombe. So it was that when I recently ordered some cheese, I added this one to the basket:

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Inglewhite Buffalo

The wealth of information now available about British cheeses and their producers usually makes it pretty easy to research and write about whichever hunk has made it on to the blog. But boy oh boy was this week’s cheese ever a slippery one to pin down. It has taken sleuthmanship and cunning beyond the wit of man to find out even the basics. I’m mentally spent. So, here is it, the Loch Ness Monster, the Lord Lucan of cheeses, Inglewhite Buffalo:

inglewhite buffalo

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Wilde are the Cheesemakers

Philip Wilton, Wilde's Cheese

Most recounts of visits to cheese-makers seem to involve the word ‘bucolic’ and descriptions of jade-green grass and tumbling verges. Often cows feature, grazing contentedly in a hazy middle distance. Not so on my visit to Wildes Cheese. Stepping out from the train station, the only green to be spotted is the odd blowsy branch of elderflower hanging off the rail embankment and some plantains piled up outside a local shop. Tottenham is many things but a rural idyll is not one of them.

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Posbury

Earlier this week I had my fifteen minutes of fame on a radio show called The Dirt, which focuses on gardening and food. Should you be at a very loose end and wish to hear me wittering on about disastrous home-cheesemaking and how people should be able to eat nasty cheese if that’s what they like (fence-sitter, moi?) then you can find it here. I turn up about three quarters of the way through. One of the topics we got on to was ‘cheese with bits in’ and I did at this point declare that I am, on the whole, not a fan. All of which leads me neatly on to this week’s cheese, Posbury. My slab of Posbury was kindly sent to me by a friend who tried it, liked it and thought I might too. My initial thought was ‘Eeek, cheese with bits in!’ So, here it is: Posbury, pre-nibble, with its bitty-bits glittering at me evilly:

Posbury goat's cheese

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Mrs Temple’s Alpine

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):

mrs temple's wells alpine cheese
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Doddington

I have to admit I’ve been feeling a bit stumped recently when it comes to finding a cheese I haven’t tried before. I know that there are some 700 different cheese in the British Isles and I’ve so far only scoffed a hundred or so of them, so I’ve got some way to go. But even so, having tracked down and raided all the local cheese emporiums on several occasions, I was starting to find it more difficult to track down an unforaged fromage. So it was with some relief that I spotted this week’s cheese, hiding coyly from the heat behind a plastic curtain:

Doddington Cheese
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Alexandra

This week, I managed to finish all my work by Wednesday and so this obviously deserved some sort of reward. For me, there’s no greater treat than going to Borough Market and spending most of what I’ve just earned and so that’s where I headed, bribing the youngest child with artisan croissant to stay in his pushchair and not yell ‘POO!’ at passers-by. A trip to Neal’s Yard Dairy was always on the cards and I’d also stocked up on several of life’s other essentials (you know the sort of thing – clams, vino cotto, smoked paprika in a pretty tin) when I was starting to mosey towards the exit.

But – wait! What did I see before me? Hurray, it was only a cheesemaker whose wares I’d been wanting to try for ages. How exciting! Wildes Cheese are only based across the river from me in North London but I hadn’t yet managed to track down their cheese or pay them a visit (scary place, the North). So the sight of their stall pleased me immensely. As did this, Alexandra, the cheese that I decided to take home after gobbling all of the others too:

wildes cheese alexandra

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Brinkburn

It’s coming up to the first anniversary of Fromage Homage. Just as I set out to do, I’ve tried a different cheese (nearly) every week and found out how and where they were made. I’d still place myself firmly in the fancier’s camp rather than connoisseur’s corner but I’ve moved on from this time last year when I couldn’t tell a Stilton from a Roquefort or a Stinking Bishop from a Brie. I can at least now taste a cheese and have a bash at which animal it came from and whether it’s a washed rind or a hard territorial. But there’s always one waiting to catch me out and so it was with this week’s cheese. It is a downright enigma. So here is Brinkburn, the Mona Lisa’s smile of cheeses, the crop circle of fromage:

brinkburn cheese
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Cotherstone

Selecting which cheese to try next is always a fairly random occasion. Sometimes I like the name (Baron BIGOD!), sometimes I like the history (Single Gloucester PDO), sometimes I feel guilty about not eating cheese from a particular area (Teifi) and sometimes, if I am feeling particularly organised, I try and tie it in to an occasion (Caboc). But, feeling devoid of inspiration a few weeks ago, I put out a plaintive call on Twitter for cheese suggestions. One was from someone who works at Neal’s Yard Dairy who suggested Cotherstone because ‘It’s a great cheese, often overlooked and pretty rare…May not be around for ever either. Go grab some!’ I then heard it described as ‘the closest that British cheese-making has to a living fossil’. All in all, it sounded like a cheese to hunt down.

Here it is, the shy, retiring, winsome beauty that is Cotherstone:

Cotherstone cheese

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