While a mouldy slab of cheese might not scream romance, consider the potential seductive qualities of this spinach and Cornish Yarg tart. Hand-made in Cornwall by award-winning artisan cheesemaker Lynher Dairies, Cornish Yarg is a semi-hard, slightly tangy cheese that tastes creamy under the rind and yet crumbly near the core. The cheese is pressed and brined before being shaped by hand into a heart and then carefully wrapped in edible nettle leaves from neighbouring properties in Cornwall.
Individual 750g hearts are available direct from Lynher Dairies Cheese By Post priced at £25.95 including p&p. Or for a real wow factor, you can choose a large 2.8kg Yarg, a cake-size gift that is great to share or serve at a romantic meal. The 2.8kg heart-shaped Cornish Yarg is available direct from Lynher Dairies cheese-by-post service. www.lynherdairies.co.uk

Spinach and Cornish Yarg Tart


Makes 1 x 25cm tart, serving 8

For the shortcrust pastry
250g plain flour
Pinch of salt
125g cold butter, cubed
1 egg, separated

For the filling
2 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
750g spinach, washed
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Nutmeg, to grate
200ml double cream
100ml single cream
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
250g grated Yarg Cornish Cheese (rind on)


To make the shortcrust pastry:Sift the flour into a food processor, add the salt and butter, then whizz for about 45 seconds.Add the egg yolk and blend for a further 15 seconds. At this stage, add a couple of teaspoons of ice-cold water. The mixture should become less crumbly and form a ball.Stop pulsing once the ball has formed. (Be careful not to add too much water.)Remove the pastry from the bowl, then wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.When ready to make the tart, preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Roll out the pastry to a diameter of about 30cm on a lightly floured surface, lift into a well-buttered flan dish and press into place. Trim the excess from the sides. Place in the oven and bake blind for 10-15 minutes.

To make the filling:Heat the olive oil with the butter in the largest frying pan you own. (You might need to do the spinach in a couple of batches if you are using a small pan.)Once the butter and oil start bubbling, add the spinach and season with the garlic, salt, pepper and a good grating of nutmeg.Stir until the spinach has wilted, then place in a colander to strain and leave until cool enough to handle. Squeeze the leaves as hard as you can to extract excess moisture.Mix the creams together, add the egg yolks, whole egg and spinach, season to taste, then blitz in a food processor.Place half the Yarg cheese in the pastry case, pour over the spinach mix and top with the remaining Yarg cheese.Return to the bottom of the oven and cook for 45 minutes. If the top looks like it is getting slightly overdone, cover with baking paper.Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

If you’d like to read more about glorious British cheeses, check out the bright young things we sampled over at Paxton and Whitfield. Or if Stilton is more your style, head over to The Waldorf Hilton for their Silton infused menu. Or, if mouldy chunks of compressed curds is your idea of romance after all and you’d like to impress your sweetheart with a hamper of cheesy delights, add Paxton and Whitfield’s heart-shaped Neufchatel to the list.