Many of the cheeses I love the most have their roots in England where Cheddar was first created and sold in early farmers’ markets around the town of Cheddar. Recently I received a few cheeses from Coombe Castle and I shared them with family at a birthday celebration in Vancouver while The Man and I were there last month.
The cheeses were a hit, with no clear winner… actually all three were winners.
The first cheese on the board was Cheshire, a white, crumbly cheese that’s hard to find in the US. It’s tangy, nutty and finishes with a sweetness. It is made using pasteurized cow’s milk, cultures and vegetarian rennet. I paired it with Kelly’s Jelly’s Strawbanero; strawberry preserves with Habanero pepper added to create a sweet heat. I served it with a fresh fruit medley and a selection of Canada’s Dare Crackers. Bit of trivia, Kelly’s Strawbanero jelly is used to fill Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut’s Jelly filled doughnuts every Thursday.
The second cheese on the board was Double Gloucester. Another creamy, nutty and savory cheese with a deep orange hue, from the addition of annatto, a natural dye made from the seed of the Achiote Tree. Cheese lore has its use stemming from the sixteenth century as it was added to winter milk when the cows ate silage rather than grazing outdoors. The summer milk contained beta carotene and was naturally more yellow. The resulting brighter cheese was considered superior in quality by consumers. Annatto is added in a small amount which doesn’t affect the taste of the cheese, although it can be used in larger quantities to add spiciness to food. Another pasteurized milk cheese made with vegetarian rennet is the cheese chased in the famous Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake. There is also a single Gloucester cheese that is sold only in the county of Gloucestshire, where both are made. This selection was paired with Kelly’s Pepper Jelly. Kelly’s Pepper Jelly won the prestigious 2016 Good Food Award in its category; the second Good Food this jelly has won.
The third cheese we tasted was Red Leicester. Originally made with the leftover milk from Blue Stilton production, its reddish-orange hue came from the addition of carrot or beet juice. Today, annatto is used to give it its signature color. Production is similar to that of Cheddar, but it is often more crumbly with a sweeter, nutty finish. As it ages, it develops a delightful tang. The wedge we enjoyed was more than a year old, the flavor robust with a hint of pineapple. Because of the pineapple note, I paired it with Kelly’s Jelly’s Pine-o-Peno, her pineapple preserve made spicy with the addition jalapeno peppers. It was a perfect pairing and got lots of rave reviews from the family. Red Leicester is also made with pasteurized milk and vegetable rennet.
With the jellies and the fresh fruit medley, this cheese board was indeed a vegetarian delight!!
I give all three of the Coombe Castle Cheeses 4 Paws. Kelly’s Jellies also get the 4 Paw stamp… maybe not as prestigious as the Good Food, but the highest rating we award here at Marcella The Cheesemonger.
Serving Suggestions: On a cheese board, you have perfect snackers. These cheeses also would work well in your favorite cheese sauce recipe, especially Mac n Cheese.
FTC Disclosure: The manufacturer sent me these cheeses, without any obligation on my part, hoping I would review the product. Please see my About Me Page for details.
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