Thursday, 14 June 2012

Best of British Cheese

Of all of the things that I have found out about since joining the twitter revolution in Leeds, cheese club is the one event that I look forward to the most.  A gathering of like minded cheese enthusiasts, blind tasting themed cheeses in one of the best pubs Leeds has to offer.  What's not to like?  Tonight's Homage2Fromage theme is Best of British, inspired by the Jubilee celebrations that have just passed.

Vickie and Nick, the grand fromages, asked cheese club members to nominate their favourite British cheeses.  On this basis the cheese list for tonight was formed.  At this point I am going to fess-up.  Due to work I couldn't attend cheese club this month.  Instead I was privileged to have been given an advance viewing of the cheese list so that I could join in the fun at home with Z.

Yesterday, armed with my cheese list I went on a cheese hunt.  I wasn't planning to get all of the cheeses, so I wasn't upset when I could only find three of them.  Millies provided all of my spoils, Yarg, Caerphilly and Montgomery Cheddar.  I already had some Garstang Blue in the house so that rounded off my cheese board, even though it wasn't on the original list.  I also bought a loaf of sourdough bread from Dock Street Market.  If you're sampling great cheese, you need great bread.

The Montgomery Cheddar was a nice cheese and a good representation of everything cheddar should be.  Too many cheddars fight to be the strongest or are so mild that you could be eating butter.  We discovered that neither of us had ever eaten Caerphilly.  In contrast to the smooth cheddar it was crumbly, sharp and salty.  There was also a vegetably undertone, but that was more in the aroma than the taste and balanced the strength of the cheese well.  Garstang Blue is an old Homage2Fromage favourite from the good people at Dewlay.  My personal favourite British cheese is Stilton. Garstang is a softer blue but still has the strength in its veins and went down well with Z.

The final cheese, Yarg, is a household favourite and was the cheese of the night.  We buy it nearly every time we're having a cheese board but I think familiarity had got the better of us.  We both thought we knew what we were about to eat, but this was something else.  I can only assume that it was a young Yarg because it was much creamier than we're used to and tasted much fresher.  It was by far the best Yarg we have had for years.

I missed going to cheese club tonight.  It's not just the fourteen varieties of cheese I could have tasted, or the fact that it's held in a great pub.  It's the people too.  Being in a room of 80 people all extolling the virtues of cheese is as mad as it is brilliant.  Luckily for me Z is just as into cheese as I am and is always fantastic company.  What I lost on not going out, I more than made up for with having a night in with Z.

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