Friday, April 20, 2012

Capra Nouveau

I've got a bit behindhand with my cheese posts - this was one I tasted about a month ago at my local deli, Chandos.

It's a washed rind goats cheese from a Shropshire producer called Brock Hall Farm. The surface looks almost as if it has been knitted and the interior is seductively yielding - a bit like a Vacherin.

It's quite assertive and fruity in flavour, but not strong and not at all 'goaty'. If I hadn't been told I'd have said it was a cows' cheese.

It's also very moreish. I bought a relatively small amount as I like to buy my cheese little and often and we wolfed our way through it in no time.

You can find other stockists on the Brock Hall Farm website.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How far should you let a Brie go?

Here is a picture of a practically perfect Brie. IMHO although some people might argue it had been allowed to mature too far.

It was served as part of a food and wine tasting I conducted at the cookery school Leiths the other day.

True, it made it trickier to find a wine match. The Chilean pinot noir I'd picked to go with it seemed a bit lightweight, it was so decadently creamy. On the other hand it hadn't got that sort of ammoniac character that Brie can acquire as it ages which can give it an unpleasantly bitter edge.

All you need is a hunk of crisp, freshly baked baguette to slather it on. And maybe a few grapes. The perfect lunch . . .

Beats the sort of underripe Bries you find on the supermarket chill counter hands down. You should never serve Brie straight from the fridge either.

But should you let it go this far if you value the wine you're drinking with it? What do you reckon?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Croatian cheese

One of the pleasures of travelling is checking out another country's cheese scene so I was looking forward to finding out what Istria in northern Croatia had to offer when I visited it last week.

The answer was not a great deal of distinction, just a lot of simply made fresh cheeses and a few aged, Pecorino-style ones. Cheese seems to be served almost as a condiment, accompanying vegetable dishes like asparagus or cold meats such as Istrian ham.

It's much more likely to be used at the beginning of a meal or as an accompaniment to a wine-tasting

Or as a selection of canap├ęs at a buffet as with this hotel brunch (top and below).

Or it may be roughly grated, Pecorino-style, over a plate of pasta (in this case pasta with wild asparagus).

So there don't appear to be many strong cheeses but maybe that's deliberate so it can act as a foil for Croatia's gorgeous, grassy olive oil.