Please God let this be the year the death knell sounds for those tawdry supermarket selection boxes holding a grotesque assemblage of shrink-wrapped, waxen specimens nefariously studded with’fruit du jour’ or muddled with metallic herbage.
We’ve quite had our fill of lacklustre Bries, crummy Camemberts and wishy-washy Stiltons, ta. So this year we kindly offer you Royally-Warranted purveyor Paxton & Whitfield‘s expert selection, and the opportunity to redeem your own cheeseboard. Seize it with both hands.
Leave the Veggies to it and get your hands on the traditionally-rennet-ed version of Philip and Carol Stansfield’s award-winning, blue-veined lovely. The Cornish climate lends itself well to creating this European-style blue, developed just over a decade ago. With a maturation period of between 12 and 14 weeks, the cheese has a firm texture with a mild and creamy flavour that’s anything but aggressive, leaving behind a slight sweetness. Paxton & Whitfield is one of very few cheesemongers to stock this variety.
This fine Scottish example of a brie is made near Tain, North of Inverness by the Stone family at Highland Fine Cheeses. A whimsical cheese-making experiment following a serendipitous bathtub accident in the 1950s lead to great things for the family firm- resulting in the development of the award-winning Highland Blue, and now the melt-in-the-mouth Morangie Brie, made with vegetarian rennet and milk from the Stone family’s cows and other local herds. The cheese ripens beautifully to give a distinctive creamy, earthy flavour.
This coy little unpasturised, leaf-wrapped goat-milk roundel is made by Pete Humphries of Whitelake Cheese in the West Country. It ripens to develop a tasty coating of white fluffy penicillin mould and is then lovingly washed with Somerset Cider Brandy and wrapped in a vine leaf to keep the moist, creamy quality of the curd. Starting young with a mousse-like, lemon-y quality, the cheese becomes runnier with age, tasting full and rich as you like. Would you Adam and Eve it?
Lord London (£25.00/kg)
Spanish cheeses offer the inspiration for the appearance of this striking bell-shaped, semi-hard artisan specimen made by Sussex-based Arthur Alsop and Nicholas Walker, innovative small-scale cheese-makers with cheffing backgrounds. The glaringly white, velvety edible rind gives way to a subcutanrous layer of glorious goo, with the firmer paste beneath melting like clotted cream on the tongue. A worthy rival to mind-blowing triple-cremes like Vignotte, Lord London is a Jermyn Street exclusive for Paxton & Whitfield.
Don’t be a sheep- offer a cheese made with the milk of the beasties instead. The result of a collaboration of ubiquitous musician-turned-countryphile Alex James and esteemed Oxfordshire cheese-maker Roger Crudge, the royally-monikered truckle takes inspiration from the aged’tomme’ styles of the Savoie region of France. Good Queen Maude is a firm, rather crusty lass with a delicate and sweet flavour and just a hint of fudge. With mouths full, we salute you, ma’am.
All cheeses available to order or on sale instore at Paxton & Whitfield, 93 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6JE
Prices do not include postage and packing. The last date for Christmas orders for pre-Christmas delivery in the UK is 17th December 2012.