Miscellaneous CheeseTasting Notes
(most recently tasted at the top)
I'll start with a plug for an excellent cheesemonger, with a lovely little shop in Kirkby Lonsdale, in the shadow of the church (and next door to the excellent Dales Butcher): Churchmouse Cheeses: click here for their website.
Brinkhorn, Northumbria - A goats cheese with a fairly rubbery paste and a highly flavoured orange rind, speckled with a crumbly white mould. The paste is a bright white, moist, and with a rubbery texture. Fairly acidic and fresh tasting, initially fresh and clean, but develops more goatiness. A completely different sensation when a small piece of the rind is taken with it: the rind is really powerful, like a very mature rind-washed cheese. Very complex cheese and very long on the palate. Very interesting.
Coquetdale, Northumbria - Cows' milk. Leathery crust with a white and dark grey mould. Pale yellow gold interior. Very powerfully flavoured rind, that's a bit too bitter to eat much of. A very unusual flavour, bordering on the weird. Totally unlike any other cheese. Very creamy texture, but a really weird flavour. Quite pungent, but not powerful. Bizarre.
Lanark Blue - a creamy white paste with pronounced blue veins. Bright, clear flavours. Very elegant, creamy and precise.
St Killian, Carrigbyrne Farmhouse, Co. Wexford - an interesting hexagonal shape. The thin white bloomy crust hides a liquid pale gold interior. Very soft; very creamy. A really good flavour: quite grassy; not mild; not too strong; just right.
Trotter Hill tasty Lancashire (Butlers) - an absolute joy. A proper traditional, cloth-bound rinded tasty Lancashire matured for twelve months. This is without doubt the finest Lancashire cheese I have ever eaten: initially tangy acidity, which then develops into wonderfully complex, powerful, savoury, almost meaty flavours. If you're really lucky you may even find a touch of blueing. Fabulous.
Richard III Wensleydale - mid-dry, slightly crumbly paste. Deep, long intense herbaceous flavours. Obviously aged more than a commercial Wensleydale, but still a fresh taste. Cracking cheese, as Wallace might say.
Harborne Blue - a blue goats cheese. Dry, crumbly, with a slaty pale blue mottling. The overall impression is that this is quite mild, but there's also a bit of a nose-filling twang. Lovely.
Bishopstone Blue - a hard, slightly chalky, full flavoured blue, more blue-mottled than blue-veined. Very smooth rich flavour.
Keen's Cheddar - a round rich flavour, quite rustic and quite farmyardy. An excellent traditional cheddar made from unpasteurised milk.
Sykes Fell (a ewes' milk Lancashire from
Greenfield Dairy) - all the character of Lancashire cheese.
Yet not quite Lancashire cheese. All the character of a young light
ewes' milk semi hard cheese. Yet not quite. Best of both worlds.
Paladin From Germany. No, wait, don't switch off! A blue cheese. Lovely rounded non-aggressive blue cheese with a softish paste. Slightly salty, but nowhere near as savage as a good roquefort can be. Beginners' roquefort might be a good description. Lovely texture, with round clean flavours that linger and develop very nicely. Twice a gold medal winner at the Nantwich Cheese show.
Cabrales, Spain (Denominación de Origen) - a very close textured, mottled blue grey paste, quite unlike many other blue cheeses. This is the cheese that the inhabitants of the region prefer completely blue and "con gusano" (with maggots). This was almost completely blue, but thankfully without maggots. A very intense and incredibly powerful cheese. Initially it's sharp, then you get a shot of eye-wateringly strong, yet very clean flavours.
Douceur de Jura I think that's what it was called. Something I picked up in - of all places - Harrods last time I was in London. A whole cheese, about 4.5" across, in a wooden box thing. It looked interesting. A hard-looking ashen crust, very reminiscent of the black dust that covered a bottle of 1947 red Jura I got from The Wine Society a few years ago. Inside, an almost completely liquid paste, with a lovely delicate creamy flavour.
Queso de Murcio al Vino - a Spanish goats cheese matured in red wine. The cheese has a purple wine-coloured exterior that smells of red wine and goat. Very soft, light and creamy. Rather unlike goat - the texture and sweet richness would make me guess more at ewes' milk. In the mouth, the flavour builds and builds. Very very long with a light wineyness and a hint of light fruity acidity.
Chevington - A hard rind with some blooming. Deepish gold paste. Smells very grassy with lots of hay. Rich, slightly gouda-ish texture. Creamy, ripe yet herbaceous flavour which builds in the mouth. Depth of flavour is quite short, but there's a lingering nuance.
Tovey A relatively powerful
goats' milk cheese from Cumbria (Thornby Moor dairy). Semi soft with a
very white paste in a natural mould. I guess it must be aged around
four weeks before sale.
Flower Marie Got one from thecheesesociety.co.uk that was completely à point. Luscious, fresh tasting runny, almost silky perfection.
and a few slowfood cheeses imported from Italy by savoria.co.uk:
Ricotta di bufala ricotta made in Campania with buffalo milk. Think of the difference between bog standard mozzarella and artisinal produced buffalo mozarella. Well that's what this was like compared to ordinary ricotta: quite sweet and very creamy. Gorgeous.
Castelmagno A really unusual cheese. Mainly cows' milk. A rugged knobbly mould enclosing a dryish crumbly paste with a very unusual flavour. Lovely, but not a cheese to gorge on (just a little too odd for that). Tiny production, apparently from the mountains of Piedmont.
Piacintinu di Enna Sicilian ewes' milk, fairly hard like a pecorino, but a startlingly bright yellow colour from the saffron with which it's made. Whole black peppercorns add an extra bite, cutting the richness. Another cheese to eat in small portions, but very rewarding.
Even Sainsbury's own label époisses (made by the Germain dairy who seem to be ubiquitous for époisses in the UK) was jolly good - but only after subjecting it to my own affinage process: look for ones past their sell by date (will still be far too young); put in warm place for a couple of days.
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Last updated: 15 June 2005