Tuesday, 25 September 2012

British Cheese

Get the poster and support British Cheese Week
http://www.thecheeseweb.com/cheese-awards/british-cheese-week

Oh my word, without even realising it I am in the middle of British Cheese Week and I have not mentioned anything about Britain or cheese! As I tuck into my Cheddar and Red Leicester sandwich I shall rectify this immediately.

From the moment I started eating cheese I was hooked. I began as I imagine most British children do with the hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Red Leicester, Gloucestershire etc. before progressing to the more grown up cheeses (after I got over the 'I don't eat anything with mould or bits in it' phase) of Stilton, Stinking Bishop, Yarg and Y Fenni amongst others.

I was a little unpatriotic in my cheese eating at one point, preferring French Brie and Camembert, Italian Gorgonzola and DolceLatte and the Dutch waxed cheeses of Edam and Gouda to anything British. I was rescued from this sorry state of affairs by the cheese man in High Wycombe market. He had such an array of British cheeses, of which I would taste and take away a couple each week (whilst the cheeseman made sure that 'Wallace and Gromit' as he called them, my erstwhile husband and dog, had a little nibble as as well) that I took a far more balanced approach to my cheese consumption. I now mix my intake between British and continental cheeses but as this is BRITISH CHEESE WEEK I shall share some of my favourite British cheeses with you.

Cheddar

Versatile and the staple of many a sandwich you cannot say anything bad about Cheddar. I like the strong, crumbly versions to be eaten on their own or snuggled up next to a pickled onion but the less crumbly, milder types are good for the cheese and pickle sandwich unwrapped from its clingfilm or foil on a windswept beach on England's south coast.

Y Fenni

This was one that the High Wycombe cheeseman can take credit for introducing me to. The mustard seeds and ale add a lovely zing to the cheddar base. I have this with a sweet cracker or biscuit and a glass of red wine. Perfect.
Author: Dave Crosby
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Yarg

When I moved to North Devon just a few miles from the Cornish border I found in my village shop a cheese called Yarg wrapped in nettle leaves. I think I ate the whole shop stock in a couple of weeks. This cheese gives me several cheeses in one - the edible mouldy rind; the soft creamy cheese just under the rind, and the crumbly texture in the centre. It's only made in one place, Lynher Dairies in Cornwall. There is also a Wild Garlic Yarg which I have yet to try but have just made a mental note to order.
Wild Garlic Yarg
Author: Tristen Ferne
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Lanark Blue

A blue sheep's cheese and every time I have eaten it, it has tasted slightly different. This I am told is because the ewe's milk is affected by seasonal changes to their diet. I like the idea that the taste is so closely related to its source. Lanark Blue is made in Scotland at Braehead of Walston Farm.

These are just a few of my favourite British cheeses and I haven't even touched on Irish cheeses or goats cheeses. There is so much variety in flavour, texture and technique available in the British Isles that I fear I may not have time enough to taste them all...but I am going to have a bloody good go!

For all things cheese related  and to find out more about British Cheese Week go to www.thecheeseweb.com


P.S. On the theme of Britain my next four posts will be about dishes from the British Isles and Ireland with some rather tasty recipes.

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