Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Is this the most expensive cheese in Britain?

Having half an hour to kill and being in Borough market, I made my way to one of my favourite cheese shops, Neal's Yard. It had the usual array of tempting offerings, some familiar, some new but my eye was caught not so much by a cheese as a price - the £55.60 per kilo they were charging for Rogue River Blue.

There are extenuating circumstances. The cheese is not British, but American: one of the few unpasteurised cheeses being produced in the States by the Rogue River Creamery in Oregon. Is there any justification for importing it when we have so many great blues of our own? Well, yes, it's unique, being wrapped in vine leaves soaked in pear brandy a flavour that really permeates the cheese and gives it the faint flavour of a pear eau de vie. It's only made in limited quantities (there's a waiting list for it in the States), it won an award for the World's Best Blue in 2003 and Neal's Yard is actually charging no more for it than the famous New York cheese shop Artisanal.

You also don't need to buy much of it. As I suggested the other day you can easily just buy a fine slice of a more expensive cheese - 100g would cost you £5.56 - the same price as an inexpensive starter or a couple of ready meals. And I know which I'd rather have.

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