Another offering from M&B Deaville & Son near Acton, this cheese is perfect for spring. Medium in strength – by no means one of the really hard-hitting cheddars – its real virtue lies in the addition of wild garlic, giving it a lovely colour and aroma, together with a sweet garlic flavour. It’s unpasteurised, organic, vegetarian, and very moreish.
Another Piedmontese cheese this week. Margot Beer Cheese is made with the milk of rare breed Pezzata Rossa d’Oropa cattle, adding Margot craft blonde ale to the curds. The result is a mild, semi-soft cheese with a patchwork of fine holes and a subtle beer flavour. The rind (not edible) takes on a yellow hue as it matures. We have 350g rounds (ours look oddly like pork pies, such is the toughness of the rind), available whole or in smaller portions as required.
This week’s COTW is another cheese hailing from Northwest Italy – Taleggio, made by Mario Costa in Novara, Piedmont. It’s a semisoft, washed-rind, smear-ripened cheese, with an oozing texture and a tangy, fruity, almost truffle-y aftertaste.
Taleggio is a lovely cheese to melt – great with other North Italian staples like risotto and polenta. I’m looking forward to trying it grilled on Grains‘ focaccia (our first delivery arrives next weekend on 22nd April), and drizzled with some Brock & Morten truffle oil.
We also have a couple of wines from the Tenuta Il Bosco estate, in the Oltrepò Pavese area of Lombardy. The Bonarda is a little unusual, being a slightly pétillant (that’s lightly fizzy to you and me) red wine (Croatina grapes). It’s fruity, dry, and best served a little chilled. The Brera is a fresh Riesling with apple and pear flavours.
Following Caws Cenarth‘s Perl Wen, this week we feature their blue offering – Perl Las (meaning blue, as opposed to white, pearl).
Perl Las is a semi-soft, creamy, slightly salty blue. It’s great with leeks that have retained a bit of their crunch, be it in a risotto, with gnocchi or perhaps even in a tart. Or, for the culinary whizzes out there, you could try making Perl Las ice cream, seen here on a cheeseboard.
Perl Wen is a beautiful Welsh organic brie-style cheese, with a fairly firm texture, and a lovely lemon-y flavour giving it a slight tang. I like this one with a smooth fruity jam rather than a chunky acidic chutney. How about filling a crusty baguette with Perl Wen, Hedgerow‘s Spiced Elderberry Jelly, and a handful of rocket?
Caws Cenarth began making cheese in the 1980s following the introduction of milk quotas — check out this photo of Gwynfor and Thelma Adams from back in the day. It’s now their son Carwyn who runs things, and he’s more than happy to receive visitors — there’s a viewing gallery and a chance to taste all their cheeses. That’s going on my holiday list!
The second instalment of our Wales month, this week’s cheese is Y-Fenni.
It’s a Welsh cheddar full of mustard seeds and a generous lug of ale, and makes a great start to a Welsh rarebit. Why not try with a splash of Henderson’s Relish or Lancashire Sauce? Both vegetarian and vegan friendly (unlike another regional sauce, which famously contains anchovies), the former is The Spicy Yorkshire Sauce, flavoured with tamarind & cloves, and the latter Probably the Most Versatile Sauce in the World, mildly spiced with curry flavours like fenugreek and cumin.
The Abergavenny Fine Food Company also make Harlech – cheddar with horseradish and parsley – which has become an ever-present in our fridge following a customer request.
So this week’s COTW, dovetailing with our first DOTM (I can’t move for initialisms at the moment), is Pont Gâr Soft Blue, made by the Camarthenshire Cheese Company (CCC?) in West Wales.
It’s a mould-ripened cheese with a little bit of blue veining. But don’t be fooled – there’s plenty of flavour here (I think the round we’re working through must be a well-aged one). The producers suggest baking it to turn it into a dip – great with crusty bread, and I’d suggest a few sticks of celery too.
It is with great pleasure that I introduce our special “Cheese of the Fortnight” – Montgomery’s Cheddar. Yes, that’s right, my namesake in the cheese world. And, as you won’t be at all surprised to hear, I think it’s a good ‘un.
Montgomery’s Cheddar is a handmade unpasteurised cheese made (with animal rennet) in North Cadbury, Somerset. To say we’ve struggled to find a good strong cheddar to slot into our cheese selection is putting it a bit high, but I wasn’t so Keen on Keen’s (another West Country Cheddar); Lincolnshire Poacher is a solid option, though I prefer the Double Barrel extra mature version.
Montgomery’s, however, is impressive. A strong cheddar, with a real depth of flavour and an unusually dry texture (due to the curds being shredded with an old-fashioned peg mill, rather than sliced). Watch out for the odd blue vein – a sign of a traditional cheddar, matured in cloth rather than plastic.
Fantastic with our Miller’s Ale crackers, which add bite from their thick cut and their hoppy, slightly sour taste.
This week sees a return to the Bourne family in Malpas (mentioned in COTW #3). The family has been making cheese since the 1700s, at its current farm since 1930, and John Bourne describes Mrs Bourne’s Mature Cheshire as their flagship.
We currently have the coloured variety, although don’t be expecting anything vibrant – think more pale coral than red leicester. It is the fullest flavoured cheshire I’ve come across yet, and is great on a ploughman’s with a good onion pickle (or indeed pickled onion).
*did you know our neighbours at Tea on the Green feature our Cheese of the Week on their ploughman’s?
This is Hartington’s Peakland White – a white stilton-style, tangy, slightly salty cheese – with its edges knocked off by the addition of cranberries and orange peel. And the folks at Hartington mean it when they say it contains generous pieces of orange peel – it really is very orangey indeed. A twist on the white cheese and cranberry combination for sure.