I’ll admit I have to control my cheesy urges very strictly. A chunk a day about an inch square is my ration but I do have the odd binge, especially if there is Stilton or Double Gloucester about.
About the only cheese I have ever disliked was the grated parmesan in pots that mater thought was the thing to sprinkle over spag bol when it was the new exotic foreign dish on the block. It did and probably still does, smell like cat pee whereas parmeggiano rough-grated fresh is very nice indeed.
Here beginneth my Cheese History. In the Beginning There Was Cheddar. And Cheddar was joined by Caerphilly and Double Gloucester and Stilton. Edam and Gouda made brief appearances but they were not just expensive; they were daylight rubbery.
And Lo, we were able to nibble local cheeses for local peoples – the kind of local peoples in Wensleydale and in addition cheeses from the Reds of Leicester and the Yargs of Cornwall.
And when we went to France there was suddenly a whole new country full of new cheeses that enticed you to them with their distinctive tangs and fragrances – Camemberts wrapped like special presents, melty Brie, wonderful Roquefort and Bleu d’Auvergne – not forgetting Reblochon which is hand turned by ancients in mountain cellars and transforms into the delicious tartiflette. Across the border in Italy there is soft, salty Dolcelatte.
But back to Britain.. Charles Martell, of Dymock is my favourite Glos cheesemaker. He really cares. Sources his milk from free range, rather beautiful Gloucester cattle. His Single Gloucester is subtle and creamy, his Double Gloucester more deeply flavoured and delish – and his Stinking Bishop…interesting perry-washed cheese but well, let’s just say don’t take it as a gift for friends who live two hours drive away or your car will never recover.
That Blur chappie Alex James is supposedly very good at cheese but there are unsung cheese heroes dotted about here and there like the North Cerney goats cheesemakers.
All very encouraging and the best possible reasons to shun the appalling cheese squares, cheesy strings and the recycled margarine pots which surely make up Babybels.
As it’s National Cheese Week, we should surely compare favourite cheeses.
Pears and biscuits anyone?