At Steve Jones’ The Cheese Bar The Lady and The Chef first met two guys from Neal’s Yard: David Lockwood, Managing Director, and Raef Hodgson, USA Export Manager. They were sampling three of the cheeses that Neal’s Yard exports.
Neal’s Yard sources cheeses from about seventy of the best cheese makers in the British Isles. Some of these cheeses are finished on the farm, but many are aged by Neal’s Yard’s expert cheese handlers in their caves in London. Neal’s Yard employees work closely with producers to source the finest quality cheeses and deliver them to their customers at peak ripeness.
This Double Gloucester is a semi-hard cheese and made from whole milk and a mixture of morning and evening milk, hence the name, Double Gloucester. Appleby’s of Hawkstone’s gourmet Double Gloucester is made in large flattish cylinders which are cloth wrapped. They have a lovely orange color which is not as vivid as some other cheeses which are dyed with annatto. The cheese has a sweet aroma of milky carrots. The flavor is rich and mellow with a lingering lemon aftertaste.
The Lady (stealing my paws once again…) gives Appleby’s Double Gloucester 3 Paws out of 4 Paws.
Serving Suggestions: Double Gloucester can be rolled down a hill; it can be melted and used in most recipes that call for cheese and it does well on any cheese plate.
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir
Beer Pairing: IPA
The second cheese tasted was the one The Lady chose to buy and bring home for The Man and your favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me) to sample and review: Lincolnshire Poacher. This raw milk cheese made using animal rennet has a rich, sweet and nutty flavor with a fruity tang. The texture is smooth, dense and creamy.
I give Lincolnshire Poacher 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: Serve this cheese on a plate with fruit and nuts and a little strawberry jam.
Wine Pairing: Merlot
Beer Pairing: Bock
The last cheese in the tasting was Stichelton Blue, made with raw, organic milk by Joe Schneider at Collingthwaite Farm, Welbeck Estate, Nottinghamshire. It also uses animal rennet. The Lady claims this is the best blue cheese she has ever tasted (and she’s tasted a lot of blue cheeses…). She found this cheese to be buttery with a caramel sweetness. The complex blue flavor and savories’ developed as she ate it and remained long after she had finished. The Chef was taken with it as well.
The biggest problem is how annoyed that The Man was that The Lady didn’t bring home the Stichelton. She had some lame excuse about there being four other blues in the fridge and she thought she would wait until after Cheese-a-topia… like how many cheeses in the fridge ever stopped her before…
After she swooned and made her great proclamations, I decided to lend her my Paws…
Serving: Blue cheese of this caliber should be schmeared on a fresh, hot baguette or in last place on a cheese plate.
Wine: A tawny port.