I am a lucky duck – last weekend I got to go to England!
A friend of mine had a talk in Milton Keynes and asked me to join her. Knowing that Britain is full of extraordinary cheeses and cheesemongers, and also because it´s always worth a visit, I of course said yes.
Milton Keynes I can tell you is not a cheese lover’s paradise, so it was crystal clear that I had to look elsewhere for my friends.
I decided to hop on a train to London where out of the many possibilities I picked “la fromagerie” and “la cave au fromage” to have a little shopping and tasting. [check out our “where to shop.. in England” section to get links to more places to go] La fromagerie, being a London based cheese intstitution since the early ‘90s is truly a place to open up your cheesy heart. I chose the store on Moxon Street for my short visit, but am positive the others are just as great.
When coming in you might get a little overwhelmed by all the kinds of accessories and other goods like wine, bread and spreads, but keep on following your nose and on the right you will find the cheese room, which is bigger than most people’s living rooms. In there the stupendous display of cheeses on offer is truly jaw-dropping, so if you have a little time I suggest you let the impression sink in, slowly move back out, grab a table and have a strengthening tasting.
I personally went for the “all-British” board,
1 goat, the TOR from Somerset and 4 cow-milk cheeses: TUNWORTH from Hampshire , the never to miss CORNISH YARG from Cornwall, DURRUS from the county of Cork (Ireland – doesn´t sound entirely British to me) and Britain’s export hit the STILTON, in this case by the Colston Basset dairy in Nottinghamshire.
It´s always a challenge to pick, but my personal winner of the moment in this head-to-head race was the Tunworth.
And I promise it was not only its creamy beauty and soft touch, which makes you start to dream of summer breezes and a glass of wine in the evening shade, that got to me.
This Camembert style cheese, hand produced by the team around Stacey Hedges, thanks to the delicate milk of her Holstein herd won several awards.
The soft, wrinkly coat clings to the melting butter-like center and carefully guards its tastenotes; when confronted by the human preditor, the almost crisp rind raises the smooth and elastic middle to an earthy, mushroomy pallet experience.
So next time you have one of those cheese shopping experiences where you are overwhelmed and can´t decide between favorites and new ones or both – go for both and try the Tunworth!
And if you wonder…
- about the other cheeses of the all-British selection …check out our “what to try” section where we will slowly build up a little database.
- about what happened to my “la cave au fromage” visit and my yet-to-tell England adventures…come back for Part II, which will be published soon
And here´s the answer from the left-behind tasting team to the eternal question:
toy or cheese? – cheese! –