Berkswell is a hard ewe’s milk cheese made at Ram Hall farm in the West Midlands. With its distinctive (if slightly awkward for us cheese-cutters) shape, it’s dry with a grainy texture, and a sweet, nutty flavour. You can treat it like a manchego and tuck in to hunks of it with bread and quince jelly, or like a pecorino and shave it onto salads, green veg, poached eggs or pasta.
There’s a great article about the cheese – with some cool pics of how it gets its shape – here
Back to Tipperary this week for Cashel Blue. First created in 1984, it is a gentle introduction to blue cheese – neither very “blue” nor very salty. It has a soft, creamy texture, with its white colour yellowing slightly with age.
Crozier Blue is made by the Grubb family in Tipperary. You may be more familiar with Cashel Blue – their semi-soft cow’s milk blue – but this one is their sheep’s milk cheese, and is in fact Ireland’s only sheep’s milk blue.
It has an off-white colour common to sheep’s cheeses, a modest amount of grey-blue veining, and a natural rind. Matured for longer than Cashel, it has a more traditional blue flavour complemented by the creaminess of the sheep’s milk. For those familiar with Mrs Bell’s, another sheep’s milk blue we’ve regularly had in the shop, I find Crozier creamier and a little less salty.
Let us know which you prefer.
PS have you seen me in the shop window? Think I may have enjoyed a few too many cheeses since the shop opened…
Seemingly Chinley’s favourite cheese, Harlech is very recognisable in our fridge in its bright orange wax. It’s a mature cheddar – not too strong, and quite moist – with a real up-your-nose horseradish flavour and flecks of parsley. Thanks to Julie who requested this when we first opened – it was a new one on us, but has been going down a storm ever since.
Last week’s Cheese Of The Week (getting a bit tardy with the computer stuff, sorry – but we always have the Cheese of the Week label in the shop if you pop in for a visit, and there is still a bit left) is Blue Cheshire from Bourne’s in Malpas. It combines the dry texture and slight sourness of their Cheshire with blue veining. A singular blue cheese to try.
This week’s COTW is Peakland White with Smoked Tomato and Garlic. Kind of the summer equivalent of the Christmas-y one with cranberry and orange. Crumbly, salty, Peakland White, this time with the addition of savoury flavours, though there is still a certain sweetness brought by the tomatoes. A great salad topper.
Just to fill in a small gap here, last week’s Cheese of the Week was Cornish Yarg from Lynher Dairies.
Yes, that does look like a leaf on the rind – Yarg is famously wrapped in nettles, making an edible rind. The cheese itself has quite a mellow flavour, and a giving texture, becoming crumbly towards the core. A Gold Award winner at the recent British Cheese Awards no less.
A new addition to our fridge, Oak Smoked Northumberland is a hard cow’s milk cheese smoked over oak chippings for 24 hours. It’s handmade by the Northumberland Cheese Company on the Blagdon Estate, using milk from a single herd. Mellow, with a long-lasting smoky flavour. Highly recommended on a burger straight off the barbecue.
From the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes, Wensleydale Special Reserve is a slightly aged version of the famous Yorkshire export, and is certainly worth the wait. It has the usual clean flavour and crumbly texture you’d expect of Wensleydale, but with a fuller flavour.
Cheese production in Hawes has a fantastic history. The first creamery was built in 1897, and just about survived the depression of the 1930s. Eventually finding itself in the hands of Dairy Crest, the creamery closed in May 1992, but former employees and a local businessman managed to get things back on track and cheese was produced in time for Christmas. Since then it has gone from strength to strength – it continues to make fantastic cheese, using local milk, helped along the way by some unlikely plasticine ambassadors.
Admittedly not the most enticingly-named cheese – it always sounds a bit violent to me – this is in fact old-favourite Dovedale with the addition of cracked black peppercorns for added flavour and texture. A good cheese for cooking – after all, it’s pre-seasoned…