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Cheese of the Moment #4

13 May

I always enjoy a farmers market. Yesterday the Traditional Cheese Dairy were in town again. The cheesemaker was keen to offer us some of his … cheese to taste. This time it was called Burwash Rose, a nice semi-soft cheese again from East Sussex, it was quite squelchy in texture.

This cheese came with a little romantic story. Mr Cheesemaker told me it was called Burwash Rose because it originated in the town of Burwash and it is washed in rosewater during the maturation process. Say what you like, but you don’t get more romantic than that.

Well you do as it happens because the jolly man on the stall went on to tell us that this particular cheese has its origins way back in 1211 although that date could be wrong, he definitely said it was 12 something or 11 something. Whatever year it was it was a long time ago. He said he discovered it in a very old recipe book from an Abbey, again I can’t remember which Abbey but for some reason Nottinghamshire keeps popping into my head. He took the recipe and started making the cheese and there you have it. Originally, he added, the cheese was named Abbot’s Delight but they changed the name because they didn’t want people to get the impression they were in the habit of selling small boys! He then winked or I might have added that for dramatic effect.

I’m a sucker for such romance so this is my cheese of the moment.

BURWASH ROSE!!!!!

Not my pic

Cheese of the Moment #3

14 Apr

Well, it was a fine morning over here. Made even better by the farmers coming to town with their fine produce. Now, I’ve never been a massive fan of cheese with ‘stuff’ in it and I’ve always liked my cheeses more on the sharp side but this morning I was charmed, taken in by the moment.

The cheese I most enjoyed today was like a softish Cheddar with added garlic, herbs and cider in the mix. All of those ingredients I like so what my problem was with ‘stuff’ being in cheese, I’ll never know. It’s made by the Traditional Cheese Dairy from Sussex (again!) I think I like them. Herby, garlicky and a little cidery sweetness to boot. The photo will tell you more.

Give it up for ……….SUSSEX SCRUMPY!!!!

Info above

The Hit Parade

9 Apr

We all love a chart, don’t we? Top 5s, Top 10s… When I was younger the Top 30 (40) was so important to my life. Every Sunday evening the official music chart went out on BBC radio and I used to take it really personally if the song I liked at the time went down a few places. Now, I don’t even know if there is an official chart.  There is just music, isn’t there?

Lads mags and fashion mags are forever compiling Top 100s. Every time I log onto the Interwhatsit, Yahoo homepage is displaying a list of 10 things not to say to your lover while they have their nose in your fridge or 8 tell-tale signs that the person you are speaking to would really rather be looking at their iPhone.  Now, I would say that if you can’t beat them join them but clearly I joined many a moon ago, as evidenced elsewhere on this blog. Long before Nick Hornby released High Fidelity, we were all compiling our top 5 this and our top 5 that and top 5 the other. When I say ‘we’ I don’t necessarily include you. I refer to those of us who have shards of the obsessive coursing through our veins.

Well, I suppose I can’t keep ranting on like this without compiling another Top 5 of my own. Actually, in the interest of balance, why don’t I make that two Top 5s! Both are based on how much I enjoyment I gained from them on a particular occasion.

My top 5 foods enjoyed since finishing my detox!

  1. Spinach
  2. Venison Hearts
  3. Lord of the Hundreds Cheese
  4. Feta Cheese
  5. Pork Shank

My top 5 beers enjoyed since finishing my detox!

  1. Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter
  2. Ellezelloise Quintin Ambree
  3. Rothaus Pils
  4. Otley Thai-Bo
  5. Windsor & Eton Knight of the Garter

 

I might go away next Easter. I really do have too much time on my hands!!!!!

 

Cheese of the Moment #2

4 Apr

Mothers come bearing gifts and this one was very square in shape.  This is a cheese I could only describe as an adult Dairy Lea. That sounds like an insult but is anything but, made from raw sheep’s milk it has a lovely white rind, is soft and tangy with some subtle flavours. There doesn’t seem to be an interesting story behind this one but cheese comes in moments and this particular moment was had in a very clean house!

So from the Golden Cross Cheese Company Limited

…Give it up for FLOWER MARIE!!!

Flower Marie

Sexy Beer Glassware – My Top 10

23 Mar

There’s a lot of talk about glassware. There are those that don’t care for it or don’t notice it and there are those that talk endlessly about the importance of getting the right glassware for the right beer, because it’s sooo important to trap aromas correctly and to ensure you get the right sized head on your beer. Personally, it’s all about image for me. I don’t buy the glasses because of how they make the beer taste, I buy them for their seductive, sensuous feel in my hands when I’m drinking and because I buy into the idea that I suddenly become really sophisticated when I’m pouring a bottle of Chimay into my stemmed Chimay goblet and swishing it about like a 1930s lord dressed in tweed by his drawing-room fireplace, cognac in hand. So with that in mind I make no excuses for indulging myself in the following exercise in glassware masturbation. (Not literally of course, that would be quite hideous!)

These are my top 10 and I might as well tell you now that those steins you get in German biergartens are not on the list. They are a quite ludicrous drinking vessel.

10)  the nonik pint glass – This is looking a little bit old hat now but that little lip just under the head of your pint just accentuates the beauty of the pint, a fine measure of beer.

Bottom Right

9) the dimpled pint mug – This is one of the most awkward-looking of the list but it makes your beer look heftier. It has had a comeback in pubs recently, particularly in those which purport to be gastro pubs. It shows us they look after their beer, doesn’t it? I’ve included this because you can only have a sing-a-long sailor style with glass that has a handle. Obvious.

Dimpled mug on the sign

8) the tulip – so called because it resembles a.. a… tulip, apparently.Whatever it is supposed to be just look at those curves.

Get yer tulips round this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) the conical pint glass – I like the oversized versions of these in decent pubs. A good size and you can still hold your beer up to the light to admire like a fool, unlike those ridiculous steins. Somehow these remind me of Edwardian pubs (I saw them in an old photo once) but are pretty much the norm these days.

Seen here with Dark Star Espresso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Maredsous flute – This a delicately poised glass, which somehow I feel like I’m always going to knock over. If this wasn’t the case it might have been elevated a place or two. Definitely not one for the faint-hearted!!!

A bit too close to the edge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Fullers ESB stemmed pint glass – It doesn’t look like a pint glass but it ruddy well is! The perfect quantity marries subtlety. This allows you to maintain an aura of manliness whilst deluding yourself that you’re sophisticated. A unique combination.

Manliness is next to godliness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Meantime stemmed curvy pint glass – Wouldn’t know what to call this one. It’s a relative newcomer on the scene but if you were to find yourself buying any of Meantime’s overpriced and overrated keg beers in a pub then this would ease the pain of forking out so much. It’s extra height allows you to run your hands down over its curves with the pretence that you’re just clearing away excess condensation, while a bit more girth sets your mind at rest that it won’t topple over like the Maredsous flute.

Girth AND finesse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Chimay Trappist Glass – An oldie but a goodie.  The Belgians know their bacon when it comes to glassware and this is one class glass. Nothing more to say.

Class Glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Orval Trappist Glass – Nothing to do with Keith Harris, this was designed by one Henry Vaes. The chalice is something special from a Belgian monastery. Quite beautiful. If you don’t believe me check out this fellow’s great post and the photograph 3/4s of the way down the page. Orval and cheese  is a wonderful combination, but don’t you wish you could have designed those glasses?

Who is your very best friend?

1) Westmalle Trappist Glass – The Rolls Royce of beer glasses. Solid and weighty, beautiful lines. Finesse. This is truly, without sarcasm, a piece of art. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks so. A quick google search confirmed that at least one other gentleman agrees with me!

Cheese of the Moment #1

17 Mar

Cheeses, like beers, are too difficult to rank. I can rank my 5 best paintings but not my 5 best cheeses. Cheeses, like beers, are of the moment.

It’s a great time to be a cheesehead in the UK at the moment. There are more artisan cheesemakers in the UK than in France believe it or not. Though I don’t buy into the idea that everything should be compared to France, internationally perhaps this gives a little perspective.

The cheese of this moment is a cheese named after the tax collector that used to collect taxes from 100 shires before the UK was separated into counties. The county of origin is East Sussex in the south of England. It’s an unpasteurised hard ewes milk cheese which has been brined and matured for between four and six months. The rind is gold in colour and it has a ‘nutty’ flavour and a dryish texture. I love it.

Give it up for LORD OF THE HUNDREDS