25 Jul 2014

Top five cheese and beer matches


I've never really understood why red wine is lauded as the perfect partner for cheese. The tannins often clash and clang with the creaminess of the cheese horribly. Beer is better in my experience with more complementary flavours and a refreshing quality (maybe from the bubbles?) that cleanses the palate and leaves you ready for more cheese.The citrus notes of an IPA match up nicely with the lemony tang of a goat's cheese, while sweet, chocolatey stouts work a treat with aged Gouda with its caramel and coffee flavours.

10 Jul 2014

CHEESE OF THE WEEK: Quickes Vintage

I paired this cheese with a cider at a recent event I organised with the Brighton Food Society and it went down a storm. Devon producer Quickes Traditional ages most of its cheddars for around a year, but some have the potential to be matured for much longer. Quickes Vintage, which is made with pasteurised milk, is 24 months old when it is released, making it one of the most mature farmhouse cheddars in the country.

Owner Mary Quicke describes her cheeses as being “10-mile cheddars” in that if she tastes a piece before driving away from the farm, the flavour will still be developing on the palate 10 miles later. Unlike über sweet block cheddars, Quickes Vintage has what Mary describes as a 'grand staircase of flavours' taking in creaminess, intense savoury 'umami' notes and a lovely mellow caramel sweetness.

28 May 2014

Rosary goat's cheese wins British Cheese Awards 2014

Flavoured cheeses are often frowned upon by fromage purists, but this year's winner of the British Cheese Awards proves there are some great examples out there.

Rosary goat's cheese, flavoured with garlic and herb, was named Supreme Champion at yesterday's awards, which saw more than 1,000 entries from 177 British and Irish cheesemakers.

Made by Chris and Clare Moody on the Hampshire and Wiltshire border, the pasteurised cheese is soft, fluffy and speckled with fresh herbs and garlic.It is sold in Waitrose and by delis including Arch House Deli in Bristol and Victoria's Deli in Cambridge.

9 May 2014

Hafod: taking it slow

It only takes a few weak rays of sunshine for Brits to start flashing the flesh and breaking out the flip-flops, but that's nothing compared to the delirium of cows when spring arrives. According to Sam Holden of Holden Farm Dairy in West Wales, setting the cows loose in the fields for the first time after the winter is one of the great moments in a farmhouse cheesemaker's year.

10 Dec 2013

World Cheese Awards: Montagnolo Affine wins again

So the dust has settled after last month's World Cheese Awards and I've had a bit of time to digest (literally) what went on. The Supreme Champion, whittled down from more than 2,700 entries by hundreds of judges (including me), was a German cheese called Montagnolo Affine from a company called Käserei Champignon in Bavaria.

Made with pasteurised cow's milk, it's a rich and creamy blue with a natural grey rind. “A blue cheese for people who don't like blue cheese,” is how one of the expert judges on the final panel of 16 described it.