Cheese Fest

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Archive for the ‘Hard’ Category

Sister Sarah

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July 2nd, 2017 Posted 6:01 pm

Intolerant to cow’s milk, but don’t like goatiness? This is the cheese for you.

With its striking orange, annatto coloured rind and smooth, silky white pate this cheese is just so seductive.

Sister Sarah

Sister Sarah

Ahem… although it’s, normally… coated with annatto, (a bright orange natural colour, added to many orange cheeses, such as Red Leicester), the more astute reader may have noticed that our particular review piece is somewhat lacking in this feature..

Moving swiftly on, the pate is very white (ok, it’s not a good photo either), with an oily sheen and a mild milky smell.

The texture is deliciously soft and smooth, yielding sensually in the mouth.

Delicately milky and extremely satisfying. There’s a slight chalkiness and a very gently tangy spiciness that leaves a very, very subtle burning sensation, with hints of nuttiness and chocolate. Although this is a goat’s milk cheese, there is not even the slightest hint of goatiness.

It could be argued that the qualities of this cheese a so subtle that it could easily be dismissed as unremarkable. However, take the time to really taste and savour it and it becomes a very satisfying experience.

Produced by the High Weald Dairy

Purchased from Cheese Please, Lewes.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2014.

(4/5)

Posted in English, Goat's milks, Hard

Somerset Chilli

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June 4th, 2017 Posted 6:22 pm

We don’t tend to review reformed flavour added cheeses, but every now and again one comes along that’s worth a mention.

Somerset Chilli

Somerset Chilli

Reformed flavour added cheeses tend to be a mass production cheddar like cheese, that has been broken up into small chunks, mixed with some form of vegetation and then pressed back into a cheese shape. Most supermarket flavour added cheeses are made like this, and to be honest, are a bit “trick”.

This particular cheese appears to be based on a cheddar, with added green and red chillies and coated in cracked black pepper.

Hot, hot, hot! If you like spicy food, you’ll like this. It’s not so hot that you cannot taste the cheese, but it is hot enough to make your tongue burn and lips tingle. Strangely, the black pepper coated rind is actually hotter than the chilli laced interior.

To be truthful, it’s nothing special, from an artisan cheese perspective, but is included because it’s fun. If you have a known chilli-head coming to dinner, this will keep them happy.

In summary, like a Las Vegas showgirl, hot and fun, but not serious.

Produced by Somerset Cheese Company

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2013

(2.5/5)

Wyfe of Bath

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February 19th, 2017 Posted 5:18 pm

Experience, though noon auctoritee,
Were in this world, were right y-nough to me,
To speke of wo that is in mariage;
For, lordinges, sith I twelf yeer was of age.

-  Geoffrey Chaucer

From whence this cheese doth get it’s name… apparently.

Wyfe of Bath

Wyfe of Bath

According to the manufacturer, like Chaucer’s tale, this cheese is like a taste of old England. It certainly smells, old.  It has this wonderful smell of old, damp stone, reminiscent of a church crypt.

Formed in cloth lined baskets, the cheese is shaped like a large round soap bar, with a tough, leathery, orange / grey, natural rind.

Inside, the pate can vary from a pale yellow to a light golden colour, with a firm but yielding, slightly rubbery, but creamy texture.

The taste is initially quite sharp, with delicate hints of fungus and stone. The sharpness quickly melts away leaving a pleasing nutty, grassy flavour.

All in all a pleasant cheese to nibble on with a glass of red wine.

Produced by The Bath Soft Cheese Co.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2011.

(3/5)

Posted in Cow's milk, English, Hard

Tomme au Marc de Rasin

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October 25th, 2015 Posted 7:57 pm

It looks a bit like a rather old blackcurrant cheesecake that’s been sitting at the back of the fridge for far longer than it should have, but don’t be put off by its appearance.

Tomme au Marc de Raisin

Tomme au Marc de Raisin

Topped with the grape seeds and skins left over from wine making (otherwise known a marc). This cheese has a leathery black/grey/brown rind and a light golden waxy looking pate.

Not surprisingly, it has the sweet, alcoholic smell of rotting fruit and sour milk.

The texture is similar to that of Morbier, but more yielding, almost spreadable.

The flavour is strong and robust but not overpowering with mildly alcoholic overtones (a bit like eating cheese with a sip of wine).

All in all, a very pleasant cheese that’s a little different. Definitely one for the Christmas cheeseboard.

Purchased from La Cave à Fromage, Hove.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2014

(4/5)

Goodweald Smoked

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March 29th, 2015 Posted 5:37 pm

Made by the Traditional Cheese Dairy in Stonegate, East Sussex, this smoked cheese looks the business with it’s lovely golden, orange colouration and the chequered patterning, from the wire racks it stood on during smoking. But…

Goodweald Smoked

Goodweald Smoked

…this was sadly disappointing. Now, it must be understood that I do enjoy a good smoky flavour, but there’s something not quite right about this cheese.

Its smell is remarkably reminiscent of vinyl (PVC) inflatable pool toys. That sort of sweet plasticky smell you get when you fetch the li-lo out of storage at the beginning of summer.

It is not unusual for cheese to have overpowering and uninviting smells, but the problem with this cheese is that it also tastes synthetic and plasticky.

This vinyl flavour came from the smoking process, as it was stronger around the extremities. Maybe we happened to have acquired a cheese from a bad batch, I don’t know, we haven’t tried it since.

It’s a real shame, the texture is smooth and satisfying, but the flavour is just wrong.

Produced by The Traditional Cheese Dairy

Purchased from Middle Farm, Lewes.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2013.

(1/5)

Posted in Cow's milk, English, Hard, Smoked

Crozier Blue

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December 14th, 2014 Posted 7:41 pm

With a name like Crozier, you might expect this cheese to be French, but it is in fact, Irish. A crozier is a shepherd’s crook (Which is actually taken from the French word croisier, meaning cross bearer. A crosier, or crozier, is the staff with a cross or crook, that signifies an abbot or bishop. But, enough of that, this is a cheese blog, not an etymology class.)

Crozier Blue

Crozier Blue

Crozier is  made by Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers and the name was chosen because the Rock of Cashel is where St. Patrick’s crozier is set in a statue… and this is a sheep’s milk cheese (you see what they did there? ;-) ).

It has a thin grey, sticky rind and a sweaty, cream coloured pate with blue / grey veining.

The smell is somewhat reminiscent of a schoolboy’s dirty kit bag. Sweaty, but lacking the pungency of masculine pheromones. However, don’t let this put you off.

The texture is strangely grainy, like semolina pudding. The flavour salty and sharp with quite a bite and a subtle sweetness that creeps in. Usually blue cheeses are best when taken with sweeter wines, but this combination produces a peculiar metallic aftertaste. Maybe it’s the sweetness of the cheese, but a drier wine is much better.

Having said all this, Crozier is a good cheese. It’s strange quirks make it an interesting addition to the cheeseboard.

Produced by Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers.

Purchased from La Cave a Fromage, Brighton.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2014.

(3/5)


Additional

A couple of weeks after purchase, it improved considerably. The texture became smoother and creamier and the flavour, much more mellow and satisfying. As a result, we had to re-evaluate our rating.

(4/5)

Posted in Blue, Hard, Irish, Sheep's milk

Wensleydale Blue

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October 5th, 2014 Posted 6:25 pm

Most people will be familiar with Wensleydale. Very white, sharp, crumbly and often found in supermarkets, flavoured with cranberries or apricot. Few will know about the blue variety, fewer still will know that Wensleydale was once always blue.

Wensleydale Blue

Wensleydale Blue

In the 14th century when Cistercian monks settled in Wensleydale, Yorkshire, they started making cheese (as monks tend to do). Having come from the Roquefort region of France, the recipe they brought was for blue cheese. Somewhere in its history, it became the white cheese we are now familiar with. The blue version is now rare.

The rind is dark and gnarled, dusted in fluffy moulds. The pate is a pale yellow with dark blue veining.

Though the smell is not strong, it is somewhat reminiscent of old socks with a hint of blue.

It is quite crumbly, though not as much as its cousin, the texture is creamy and smooth. Though it may look fearsome, it has a very pleasant mild, blue flavour, with none of the expected Wensleydale acidity and a mellow lingering aftertaste. A bit Stilton like, but not as strong.

It looks a bit uncouth, but is actually very civilised.

Produced by the Wensleydale Creamery.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2012.

(3.5/5)

Posted in Blue, Cow's milk, English, Hard

Mahón Curado

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June 15th, 2014 Posted 4:05 pm

With thanks to my sister, who managed to smuggle this into the country when returning from a holiday in Mallorca last year.

Mahón Curado

Mahón Curado

Deep yellow, crumbly, rubbed in olive oil and dusted in paprika. This is the mature version of a cheese from a small dairy on the northern tip of Menorca.

The paprika gives it a very appealing orangey tan coloured rind, and the way the pate flakes is reminiscent of mica.

It has a good strong cheesy smell, but nothing that makes it distinct.

Texture wise, it’s somewhere between a Manchego and Parmigiano. Dry and crumbly with a slight chewyness, together with the soft crunchiness of lactic acid crystals (or maybe salt).

The flavour is good, strong and robust, with no acidity, very similar to a good strong Cheddar.

All in all, a good tasty cheese.

Produced by: Lacto Industrial Menorquina.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2013.

(3.5/5)

Posted in Cow's milk, Hard, Spanish

Brighton Blue

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May 11th, 2014 Posted 7:58 pm

Since we are located very near to Brighton, we couldn’t justifiably not review this… although it’s not actually made in or around Brighton, but instead, some twenty miles away, in Horsted Keynes. I guess, this is because no one knows where Horsted Keynes is, but everyone knows Brighton. No? – Well, walk directly south from London until your feet get wet ;-)

Brighton Blue

Brighton Blue

The rind is sticky, a shade or two darker than it’s ivory pate and flecked with white and green/blue moulds. The pate itself is quite sparsely veined with starkly contrasted grey/green/blue moulds.

The smell is a delicate combination of sweet milkiness and mould. The texture is crumbly, but with a smooth sticky butteriness.

Mildly blue, slightly acidic with a fresh sharpness a bit like a mild Caerphilly, leaving you with a salty aftertaste.

It’s pleasant and inoffensive, with enough bite to make it mildly interesting.

Produced by High Weald Dairy.

Purchased from Cheese Please, Lewes.

Reviewed by Nick &  Olympia, 2013.

(2.5/5)

 

Posted in Blue, Cow's milk, English, Hard

Pennard Ridge Red

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January 12th, 2014 Posted 6:00 pm

If you were only allowed to look, you’d swear it was Red Leicester. If you were only allowed to smell, you’d swear it was an aged Gouda. If you were only allowed to taste, you’d swear it came from the Alps. But… what is really surprising, is that this cheese is made from goat’s milk.

Pennard Ridge Red

Pennard Ridge Red

It really does look like Red Leicester, but it’s not just the annatto added for colour, the texture is similar and so is the way it crumbles.

The rind smells of old damp stone cellars, the pate itself, slightly caramelly (a bit like aged Gouda).

The flavour is richly complex and deeply satisfying. The caramel and damp stone overtones combine with a hint of raw turnip and a sweet, nutty, alpine cow’s milk flavour that would make you seriously question its West Country, caprine origins. There is an almost unnoticeable hint of goat. So much so, that it would so easily be missed unless you were actually looking for it.

By all accounts, this was an attempt by the Somerset Cheese Company to create a Red Leicester like cheese from goat’s milk, for the lactose intolerant, but it is so much better.

All in all, a very satisfying cheese.

Produced by the Somerset Cheese Company

Purchased from Cheese Please, Lewes.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2013

(4/5)

Posted in English, Goat's milks, Hard