CHEESE

A tangent in another department wandered into CHEESE, so perhaps it's time for an in-depth discussion again. As a somewhat failed vegetarian, CHEESE is a major part of my diet, and I am fussy about it. We have an excellent vendor at our farmer's market and some other good sources nearby. This being a religious website, I am happy to say I find Pont-l'Évêque (Bishop's Bridge) to be quite heavenly of taste, though smelling like a toilet needing to be cleaned. Recently, I was curious about some stuff called "brick cheese" that turned out to be almost tasteless and having the consistency of plumber's putty, fit only for grilling - never again. I have a large piece of Stilton waiting for an evening when I am in the mood for opening the Lagavulin, and fortunately, that could be months away, so all it can do is keep improving. Another recent discovery was the locally made and oddly named Borgonzola that has to be carefully controlled, owing to the possibility of developing an addiction.

Any other favourites, oddities, recommendations, condemnations?
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  • Gorwydd Caerphilly (now made in Somerset), Perl Wen from Caws Cenarth, Colston Bassett Stilton ... and a very good Gouda from Lidl!
  • I'm a sucker for extra mature or vintage cheddar. Visits to Glasgow are not complete without a trip to Costco for a few of their 1kg blocks of vintage cheddar. Normally we just have to wait until Seriously Strong is half price in the Co-op. I've tried the odd "artisanal" cheddar but it seemed like nothing so much as a cheese that had been left unwrapped in the fridge and had dried out. Very strange texture.
  • My current default working lunch is cheddar and an apple - augmented by gazpacho or salad veg :)
  • I miss cheese indescribably - especially pecorino sardo, lancashire, feta, and a good vintage cheddar. The point is to find one that is unpasteurised, in my experience....
  • Black Bomber cheddar and paperless Wen, both Welsh cheeses, and fig and honey. Darllenwr is a fan of what used to be called Hereford Hop but is know Worcestershire Hop.
    The Mousetrap in Hereford is a brilliant cheese shop. We usually go to Hereford about every 6 weeks or so, and it’s one of our usual stops. It’s got that I am recognised by the manager, and she knows what I’ll ask for.
  • Oops, “Perl Wen”
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited November 2020
    We have a dedicated cheese shelf in the fridge. At the moment it holds a large chunk of Costco cheddar (the default cooking cheese), Parmesan (of course), cream cheese, gruyère, feta, Gorgonzola dolce, Red Leicester, Highland Blue, a smoked cheese from Orkney and a stack of ceramic dishes containing a sort of mini fondue (available from Aldi) that you bake in the oven.

    ETA we have actual fondue from time to time, notably on Boxing Day when all you want is bread and cheese.
  • Perl Las is good too, but Herself isn't keen on blue cheeses. The Marches Deli in Monmouth has a small but excellent and well-kept selection of cheeses.
  • We also have a dedicated cheese shelf in the fridge and our Sunday lunch is fresh bread with a selection of cheeses.
    My current favourites are Wyfe of Bath, Greens of Glastonbury's smoked farmhouse cheddar, Thelma's Caerffili, Colston Bassett Stilton and Perl Wen. Abel and Cole do a fantastic range of good cheeses that are delivered with the veg box.
    Many moons ago, when I was admin on a parenting board, I used to organise the autumn cheese swap. We'd send each other £12 worth of cheese - fantastic way to sample local delicacies.
  • I will eat any and all cheese. I like feta in all sorts of things, sheep or goat, doesn't matter. Soft goat's cheese is excellent melted in a pesto sauce with broccoli, chicken and pine nuts. The rubbery Greek cheese Halloumi is delicious fried, a popular entree. I could go on for ages. I love the stuff.
  • I swear I could live on cheese, a hearty bread, tomatoes, and fruit. Well, maybe a piece of chocolate. I'm salivating reading all your posts. My range is pretty small, and with just me in the house, I have to beware to not over-purchase. One of my splurges is the cheesemonger at our summer Farmer's Market, who sells a brie with a layer of apricot preserves in the middle. Scrumptious when slathered on a cracker.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    And of course, the cheeses you really like magically loose most of their cholesterol, allowing you to eat them with a clear conscience.
  • Might I add Mimolette, a cow's milk cheese from the north of France? It looks like a cantaloupe - round, a mottled exterior, orange interior. As it ages, it becomes quite hard, saltier, and nuttier. At any age, it's very good, but my preference is for the more aged. While I generally drink red wine or port with cheeses, crisp pilsner also goes quite well with Mimolette.

    Another is Testun di Barolo, a piedmontese raw sheep's milk cheese. It's wrapped in grape must (hence the name). Hard, complex salt vs grape.

    Lastly, Roaring 40s - an Australian cow's milk cheese. It's a great dessert cheese - unapologetically a blue flavour profile, but creamy and a sweet note.

    Pass the port, please.
  • Cheese is my favourite food no doubt about it. Don't think I have ever met a cheese I didn't like. But since July I have been trying to lose weight and realise that for me this means severely restricting my cheese intake. Have tried a few low fat cheeses (cheddar and brie mainly) when making something that needs a lot of cheese in cooking, but as for just eating decent cheese as it is, I am just sticking to tiny quantities much less often. Looking forward to relaxing the rules at Christmas....
  • One of my friends says cheese is the reason she could never be a vegan, and I feel the same.

    If you want excellent Stilton, Melton Mowbray market has the best I've ever tasted, sold in huge wedges. And at lunch in an Italian restaurant there I discovered scamorza.
  • We're trying to be vegan, but I must admit cheese trips us up from time to time. Pasta doesn't seem the same without some parmesan or pecorino In the summer we went to Italy to stay with a friend and had some great cheese from a local market including some wonderful smoked mozzarella.
    Nearly forty years ago, when I lived in Nottingham, husband same friend and I went on an evening cycle ride in search of stilton. I can't remember if we found any, but we had a wonderful time cycling to the pubs round Colston Bassett and Cropwell Bishop.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    One of those little known facts for impressing people with at parties is that Stilton has never been made in Stilton. It got its name because it was sold in a coaching inn there. Indeed, legally it can't be made in Stilton because Stilton isn't in the right county.

    An even more impressive fact for parties is that the village of Stilton has recently challenged that claim, alleging that it's found evidence that an 'oldest rustic' claimed he'd done so at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

    Other good cheeses IMHO are Wensleydale, Lancashire and Derbyshire Sage. I agree with @Arethosemyfeet's verdict on quite a lot of 'artisanal' Cheddar. Though some of them do have a nice tang, being dry and crumbly rather takes away from the pleasure.

    I do like a nice creamy and tangy Camembert. I hope they're still obtainable after the disaster that January 1st will be.
  • Margaret wrote: »
    One of my friends says cheese is the reason she could never be a vegan, and I feel the same.

    I too love cheese. The challenge I have is finding cheeses that are suitable for vegetarians as they are not always clearly labelled. I'm not sure I could choose a favourite but I regularly use parmesan-like, feta, goats, mozzarella, halloumi and good old cheddar in cooking and I love to eat blue cheese as well as to cook with it.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I was delighted to find Orkney red cheddar in Sainsbury's; while there's a strong element of parochial pride involved, it is a decent cheese, and very nice with a cut-up apple.
  • Orkney cheese is yummy. Any discussion of cheese always reminds me of my late father-in-law, who loved cheese and referred to his regular suppers of cheese and biscuits as "cheese orgies". I saw (what would have been) the perfect Christmas present for him last week: "A cheesemonger's history of the British Isles" by Ned Palmer. I haven't had time to read much of it yet, but it looks promising (I bought it for myself instead). Has anyone else read it?
  • I'm fond of Chaource (sp?) but generally I like British cheeses which pair well with beer - robust cheddars, blues, that red stuff that's a bit like Red Leicester but actually tastes of cheese.

    I liked mozzarella when I was in Sorrento the other year but I can't find anything comparable in the UK, even if I part company with far too much brass for it. I think the Italians are having a laugh and sending the rubbish stuff over with a fancy luxury label and price tag.

    The kids are a hopeless case - Emmental is as adventurous as they get.
  • Jane R wrote: »
    Orkney cheese is yummy. Any discussion of cheese always reminds me of my late father-in-law, who loved cheese and referred to his regular suppers of cheese and biscuits as "cheese orgies". I saw (what would have been) the perfect Christmas present for him last week: "A cheesemonger's history of the British Isles" by Ned Palmer. I haven't had time to read much of it yet, but it looks promising (I bought it for myself instead). Has anyone else read it?
    That sounds like a great idea for a pressie :)
    I’ve made my own cheese several times, mostly soft curd cheeses but also hard cheeses which I wrap in brined cotton and later dip in wax. I need a bigger house with a cool larder though.
    I’ve also done Tudor re-enactment as a dairy mistress in a traditional dairy room - my wool kirtle (dress) still stinks of cheese and is unwearable when working in other areas of the manor. When I’m a midwife/spinster I wear a different non-smelly one.
  • Question is, when do extra ingredients stop it being technically cheese: I love sage derby - I also love sun dried tomato pesto but is it also cheese ?
  • I also make cheese. I have made hard cheeses - cheddar, Caerfilli and a Wensleydale with cranberries, but my go to cheese is halloumi with mint. It’s easy, requires no culture and always tastes really good! And you can make a bonus batch of ricotta with the whey.
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    edited November 2020
    Margaret wrote: »
    One of my friends says cheese is the reason she could never be a vegan, and I feel the same.

    If you want excellent Stilton, Melton Mowbray market has the best I've ever tasted, sold in huge wedges. And at lunch in an Italian restaurant there I discovered scamorza.

    That and bacon. Reading this, I realise that I need more cheese in my life ... Well more, different kinds of cheese. Except blue because it’s rank. (And allergies)
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    I saw (what would have been) the perfect Christmas present for him last week: "A cheesemonger's history of the British Isles" by Ned Palmer. I haven't had time to read much of it yet, but it looks promising (I bought it for myself instead). Has anyone else read it?
    I've had it from the library. Eventually found it a bit repetitive and tedious but YMMV.

  • Athrawes wrote: »
    I also make cheese. I have made hard cheeses - cheddar, Caerfilli and a Wensleydale with cranberries, but my go to cheese is halloumi with mint. It’s easy, requires no culture and always tastes really good! And you can make a bonus batch of ricotta with the whey.
    Oh, I was thinking what to get my neighbours (who appreciate handmade presents and food). I could make them a flavoured cheese. Off to order some rennet.
    Just found a recipe for halloumi and will try that out.
  • Priscilla wrote: »
    Black Bomber cheddar and paperless Wen, both Welsh cheeses,

    They're from the Snowdonia Cheese company aren't they? I love the Ginger Spice variety and the Amber Mist (flavoured with whisky) .
  • Black Bomber does, but Perl Wen comes from the Caws Cenarth creamery in - I think- Carmarthenshire.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    Greetings from the country with more cheeses than days in the year :smiley:

    We went out to the fromagerie this morning. We are back with what I now realise is an enormous bit of Beaufort, also some Salers and Saint Nectaire. My favourite establishment is on the rue du Commerce where the cheeses are matured but not excessively so. It's become fashionable here for high end cheesemongers to sell cheese that's very old and smelly, but I prefer it a bit younger when it still has a creamier texture. I much prefer 18 or 24 month old Comté to 36, for example.
  • Comté is lovely, though I have no idea how mature are the ones I've eaten.
  • Oh, I like the idea of making halloumi. I occasionally make paneer if we have milk which is about to go off. That's dead easy - tip into a pan, boil for 5 minutes, add some lemon juice, and bingo! It's like magic.

    I'm the only one in the house who will eat blue cheese, which is a shame as I do like it cooked into quiche or soup or whatever, but that's not always worth doing for one person.
  • Gorgonzola used to be awful and harsh. But nowadays it is much creamier and richer.
    On the whole I prefer most European blue cheeses (Danish Blue excepted) to Stilton.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    Gorgonzola used to be awful and harsh. But nowadays it is much creamier and richer.
    On the whole I prefer most European blue cheeses (Danish Blue excepted) to Stilton.

    Blasphemer!
  • When was Gorgonzola awful and harsh?
  • Comté is lovely, though I have no idea how mature are the ones I've eaten.

    Also a Comte fan here. I think the ones we see on this side of the pond are mostly on the youthful side.


  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Gorgonzola used to be awful and harsh. But nowadays it is much creamier and richer.
    On the whole I prefer most European blue cheeses (Danish Blue excepted) to Stilton.

    You know Gorgonzola comes in Dolce and Piccante? (Rather as you have white and blue Stilton).
  • My favourite cheddar is Barber’s Cruncher.
    I have some gruyère in the fridge so am going to make a gougère soon, with peppers and courgette on the side (to balance the rather high cheese and butter content)
  • A favourite meal in a hurry here is spaghetti with a blue cheese sauce, usually with an onion and any fresh herbs that happen to be around. One person working fast can have it on the table easily in twenty minutes, less if not drinking wine at the same time.
  • I think the best cheese is generally local. Like beer. Mass produced is uniform and while palatable, isn't as interesting. I like talking to the people who make it. When possible, meet the cows and goats.

    Strongly flavoured cheese like the blue varieties are best as condiments, like the way we use mustard or hot peppers.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I made a hasty salad for lunch of lettuce, clementine, shallot, walnuts and blue cheese, dressed with lemon, walnut oil and Dijon dressing - and very nice too.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    I made a hasty salad for lunch of lettuce, clementine, shallot, walnuts and blue cheese, dressed with lemon, walnut oil and Dijon dressing - and very nice too.

    What wine pairs with that?
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Firenze wrote: »
    I made a hasty salad for lunch of lettuce, clementine, shallot, walnuts and blue cheese, dressed with lemon, walnut oil and Dijon dressing - and very nice too.

    What wine pairs with that?

    I don't drink wine at lunch, only dinner. And I would be unlikely to have just a salad at dinner time.

    But if you're hellbent, then probably Albariño, on account of the cheese and the vinaigrette.
  • That's a Frankenstein salad! Not sure what wine... Garnacha, perhaps?
  • Hellbent. Frankenstein. The salad and wine for the pandemic.
  • For those who wish to turn their passion for cheese into a profit-making opportunity, here is a link to Cheese Market News.
  • Tonight we had a sort of Greek-themed salad, based around some cold lamb left over from roast dinner, the remains of a block of haloumi and some dwarf eggplants from our garden. Cos lettuce was the base, with char-grilled haloumi, the eggplants sliced in half and char-grilled along with some sliced button mushrooms, then sliced Lebanese cucumber, cherry tomatoes, all brought together by a mint vinaigrette made with a touch of honey to mellow the edge. The mint in the haloumi and the vinaigrette complimented each other so well that I think it will become a regular combination.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Especially with summer almost upon us. Empty-nester friends often roast or bbq meat as if the family was still all there, then use the extra (not left-overs, it's deliberate) for cold meals such as you describe in summer, or quick hot meals in cooler months.
  • What is "sharp" cheddar when it's in UK-speak? The context is a US recipe for fennel seed & cheese crackers. Is it what I would call very mature cheddar?
    Or perhaps I should be using something like Parmesan or Grana Padarno... Any thoughts?
  • It means mature, I gather.
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