Saturday, 3 June 2017
Cheesy like Sunday Morning....
and Monday, and Tuesday....
Ask the man-in-the-street to name a British cheese, and they'd probably come up with four or five: Cheddar, Stilton, Red Leicester and Wensleydale - thanks Gromit! Four cheeses, maybe five or six.....
The same is true at the major supermarkets - sure you get more choice of manufacturers, but if you look for British cheese, you still are restricted to those that can be mass produced (of course the same goes for other produce sold by supermarkets too, just ask Monty Don about plants) and it's exactly this trend that the Slow Food network is actively countering.
So, imagine the hypothetical scene - a table with all the British cheeses laid out to try: crumbly Dorset Blue Vinny, made with milk from cows grazing on one field near Sturminster Newton, hard Y-Fenni with mustard seed, soft and oozy Stinking Bishop and so on; then imagine that you had the self-control to restrict yourself to eating one of these cheeses per day.
How long would it take to taste all of them? A month? two months?
In fact it would take over two years to taste all the cheeses - with over 700 varieties to choose from, including a dozen or more with Protected Designation of Origin status.
My favourite at the moment is a toss-up between Hereford Hop, which goes really well shaved onto grilled Evesham Asparagus, and Little Hereford, a salty hard cheese which is perfect in Welsh Rarebit. Both of these are made by the wonderful Monkland cheesemakers, who also sell online.
So next time you fancy a nibble of cheese, maybe washed down with some Unity Brewers ale, look out for something more unusual and keep the variety alive.