- from Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by P.G. Wodehouse
"It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on"
- from River by Joni Mitchell
I should have posted this, the tenth cheese selection from The Cheeseboard a month ago. Many apologies, then, to Robbyn - the manager of the aforementioned establishment - whose notes these are.
The fact that I'm in no mood for this blogging malarkey at the moment (or, indeed, for malarkey of any kind) shouldn't detract in any way from the fact that this is, as ever, a great trio of cheeses.
OLD WINCHESTER Cow's Milk. Pasteurised.
When Mike Smales, a dairy farmer in the New Forest, was looking to diversify into making cheese he knew he wanted to make a hard cheese. But he also knew that he didn’t want to get into the already crowded cheddar market. So, he looked to the continent for inspiration and he started making a cheese based on a Gouda recipe. Over the years the cheese has evolved into an incredibly versatile cheese that we think is like a cross between a mature cheddar and a Parmesan. Because it grates like a dream, it’s great for cooking. And because Old Winchester is made with vegetarian rennet, it’s a great option for vegetarians to use as a substitute for Parmesan. Old Winchester is now made by Paul Thomas, and just won a gold medal at the highly regarded British Cheese Awards in September. We couldn’t be happier for Paul and Mike!
SAINT NECTAIRE Cow's milk. Unpastuerised.
From the Auvergne, this cheese was first given to Louis XIV by the Marechal de Sennecterre. It is made from Salers cows which produce rich milk. I stopped selling this cheese because I was never that impressed with it. Until a customer came in and requested I order a Saint Nectaire for his party, but he insisted that he only wanted it from the affineur Morin. So, I ordered one for him and one for me (perk of the job, you see) and I couldn’t believe how much better it was! It was a useful reminder of the impact that the affineur can have on cheese. The version from Morin has a silky texture and full-flavoured spicy, walnut flavours. Such a revelation!
BARKHAM BLUE Cow's Milk. Pastuerised.
Made by Sandy and Andy Rose in Berkshire near Wokingham with milk from Jersey and Guernsey cows. Barkham Blue has a rich buttery taste and a smooth texture that melts in your mouth. It doesn’t have the harshness associated with some blue cheese so it is perfect for those who are wary of blue cheese. It has consistently won awards since they started making it in 2003, and it won a gold medal at the British Cheese Awards this year as well.