If you were to think of Spain, Manchego would likely be the cheese which immediately sprang to mind. It belongs to a very exclusive club. Along with Brie and Cheddar, Gorgonzola and Gruyère, it has become the poster child for an entire nation’s cheesemaking prowess.
This is not without good cause. A truly great Manchego manages to be many things at once. In my experience, most things in life which are capable of being more than one thing at a time, are a little on the naff side. Old news, plastic glasses, sporks and long shorts are just a few which spring to mind.
Yet a truly good Manchego bucks this trend, as it manages to have a host of seemingly contradictory attributes. It will be firm but silky soft, sweet but savoury, crumbly but creamy and yet the experience will be entirely satisfying.
For reasons we will save for another blog post, there was a time when finding a traditional, artisanal Manchego was exceptionally difficult. It became a phantom; an elusive, ha
We adore Duckett’s Caerphilly. Being but a short drive away, we recently visited Tom Calver of Westcombe Dairy to see how it is made, and to learn a little of its incredible story.
Duckett’s Caerphilly is a traditional territorial cheese and is one of but a handful of Caerphilly that are made with raw milk. During spring and summer, its taste enters a peak period and has a wonderful fresh taste with bright, fresh flavours of citrus, offset by savoury notes. It has a crumbliness in the centre and becomes softer near the rind. We love to have it crumbled over salads or anything with pea shoots as it is so light and delicious.
Tom Calver was taught the recipe personally by Chris Duckett when Chris moved production of his farmhouse Caerphilly from Wedmore to Evercreech. Being so passionate about raw milk, Tom persuaded Chris to revert the recipe back to an older version first used by Chris’ mum. Tom pushes the envelope in artisan chees
From platters to Stilton pots, our charming ceramic range was developed with the illustrator, John Broadley, because we believe that lovingly crafted cheeses deserve to be honoured with a beautiful presentation.
A new Ceramic Butter Dish was recently added to the blue and white line-up, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to speak with John about how the range started and how it has evolved over the years.
“The original design I made, in collaboration with Julian Roberts’ Irving & Co, was the stilton pot,” he said. “Ann-Marie had a desire for something which captured the feel of old blue-and-white ceramics and also bucolic English countryside scenes.”
“When it came to subsequent designs, it felt right to carry on the same approach; t
Together with cheese-maker Joe Schneider, we’ve created Stichelton Toast, an utterly unique type of toast and a collaboration we're proud of.
The toast is made by combining a generous amount of unpasteurised Stichelton blue cheese with buttermilk, our, sesame seeds, and a dash of lemon juice, before it’s carefully seasoned.
Each slice of Toast is cut thinly to make it super-light and crunchy, and the taste is deeply savoury. This is unlike any of The Fine Cheese Co. range of Toast products, rather than being an accompaniment for cheese, Stichelton Toast is a snack in itself.
Great with a glass of port
Stichelton Toast almost cries out for a drink. Its cheesy, slightly salty, umami tang and crispy texture makes a sophisticated mouthful that begs alcohol. A chilled 10-year Taw
When it comes to cheese, it can be very exciting when you come across the perfect accompaniment. Most people are familiar with which crackers and chutneys they like with their chosen cheese – but when it comes to lesser knows treats like Dottato Figs, or our Fruit and Nut Torta – not everyone knows how best to enjoy them. So we have decided to launch our “Adventures with Cheese” series, where we hope we can introduce to you a whole new range of exciting possibilities for building a cheese board with an added “wow” factor.
First up, featuring an intense treat all the way from Calabria in Southern Italy, is our video on slow baked Dottato Figs. These figs have been cooked in the oven for 12 hours, and then pressed tightly into a ball and wrapped in natural fig- leaves. To enjoy these figs, all you need do is remove the string and peel away t
Ragstone is one of our favourite British goats' milk cheeses at The Fine Cheese Co. and to our great delight it recently won one of the most prestigious awards in our industry: The James Aldridge Memorial Trophy for Best Unpasteurised Cheese.
The award which is given in the honour of the late, pioneering cheese-maker and affineur James Aldridge and is voted for by fellow cheesemakers and members of the Specialist Cheesemaker Association -the Oscars for cheese-makers! Ragstone is an unpasteurised goats' milk cheese made by Charlie Westhead and Haydn Roberts in Herefordshire. It was one of Charlie's first creations and Charlie named it after 'Ragstone Ridge' which ran close to his original dairy in Sevenoaks, Kent.
It is made with a twist on the traditional French Ste Maure, by the addition of a white mould. The curd is first set overnight, before being hand-ladled into log shaped moulds. At 2-3 weeks the cheese has developed it's milky-white coat, its flavour is lemony and its texture mellow and creamy.
January is always a quiet time in the cheese business, as waistlines expand and belts tighten. For those of us who haven’t started a fad diet, or are still working our way through the remains of the, Stilton we can start to turn our heads to the next ‘cheesey’ event: Valentine’s Day.
Cheese may not be your first thought when it comes to Valentine’s Day but lovers have been giving cheese as a gift for over 500 years.
It all started during England’s occupation of France during the Hundred Years’ War (1337 – 1453). In the region of Neufchatel, French dairy maids, enamoured by their English occupiers, started to make the local cheese into a heart shape. And so the ubiquitous and original heart-shaped cheese was born - all soft, white, bloomy rind and creamy interior.
Since then cheese-makers across the globe have taken to making heart-shaped cheeses for Valentine’s Day.
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