Despite my strictures on the Great British Cheese Festival there was one stand-out event and that was organiser Juliet Harbutt’s talk and tasting on the ‘rising stars’ of British cheese. A number of them were ones I’d already discovered, some were new but as it's British Cheese Week I urge you all to track them down:
New Forest White
I wasn’t sure I liked this cheese - a soft goats’ cheese flavoured with honey - when I first tasted it. It grew on me but you’d have to treat it as a dessert cheese. I can imagine it being fabulous with figs and a sweet wine like Samos Muscat
My discovery of the day - an ultra-rich buttery Brie with more than a hint of mushrooms which picked up the award for Best Scottish Cheese. Made by the same cheesemaker who makes Strathdon Blue and Harbutt’s Blue Monday (below) - half a mile from the Glenmorangie distillery (hence the name)
An attractive Irish semi-soft Emmental-style cheese from Moon Shine Dairy Farm Co Galway that Harbutt described as tastiing of ‘fermented fruit’ (odd, but I know what she meant - it was a bit peary). Organic and biodynamic
Wyfe of Bath
Another semi soft cheese from Bath Soft Cheese, described by Harbutst as smellling like ‘cheese scones’ (an apt description) Pleasant but didn’t really do it for me.
A sheeps cheese from Sussex High Weald Dairy. I'm a big fan of sheeps’ cheese so this really rocked my boat. Lovely mellow, gentle sweetness but tangy and characterful too.
A tomme-style cheese from Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers in Hampshire. Rich and creamy but with a nice, balancing acidity.
A new(ish) organic Welsh cheddar I’ve raved about on this blog before. Less complex (aka funky) than some of the best known artisanal cheddars such as Keens but more approachable. Lovely clean, crumbly texture - none of that ‘soapiness’ you get from block cheddars.
Launched last year by Juliet and ex Blur guitarist Alex James this sexy-looking blue has the distinction of being sold in a square.More like a Gorgonzola than a Stilton in taste and texture - mellow and creamy.
This cheese, which is made by Joe Schneider on the Welbeck Estate, can’t be classified as Stilton because if’s unpasteurised but it’s Stilton in all but name. Already an oustanding British cheese, if not one of the best blues in the world.