When I was very young I used to love Edam, my parents used to buy the whole ball of it because I ate so much. It was my equivalent of cheese strings I suppose – I must try some cheese strings and see if they taste similar. I didn’t like soft cheese, in particular the great Laughing Cow or Dairylea until I was about 9 and then I abandoned that lovely, waxy red ball of edam and ate only Dairylea or Laughing Cow… I was an all or nothing child . This devotion to only one type of cheese ended around the age of 11 when I realised there was a whole world of cheese which I would probably love just as much if I tried it.
I’m sure that I am not the only one who loved cheese as a child (except my friend who is allergic to cheese, I don’t think she loved it all), but I am reasonably certain that I am in the minority of people whose adoration filtered through into their subconscious and manifested itself in a recurring dream of a 6ft piece of cheddar! Long story short, this recurring dream spanned a period of about 3 years, whenever I was unhappy or in need of comfort I would dream of large piece of cheddar that used to look after me by doing housework or gardening and thus making me feel looked after and cared for. Nuff said…
These days I can honestly say I have tried most cheese, some I struggle with as they are too intense and give me a slight headache – Stinking Bishop in particular. Goats cheese I really don’t like the taste of, I have tried really I have and I no doubt I will continue to taste every now and then to see if I can find one which I like but on the whole no, a bit too … goatey I guess.
My favourites are blues, Stichelton, Shropshire Blue and Colston Bassett. Hard cheese is tricky as there are so many I love and it depends on what mood I am in, Montgomery is delicious and I am partial to a bit of Lincolnshire Poacher and Old Winchester as well.. I pretty much like most soft cheese but there is one which sticks in my mind as exceptional which I got from a cheese shop in Whitstable called Sharpham which is made from double Jersey cream –indulgent but amazing.
I’m less fussy about the crackers and accompaniments whatever is there I will nibble on. I’m not wild on fruit with cheese and even less so with it actually in the cheese, it’s too sweet and feels somehow out-of-place to me. Maybe all the years of chilli abuse has warped my palate?
I recently was taken out for a lovely lunch to Boisdales just off Bishopsgate in London and the first thing I saw as we were led to our table was the magnificent English cheese trolley. All the other decisions and menu choices I made were based around a cheese platter to round of the meal and I pretty much knew the minute I saw it all which ones I was going to have – Coulston Bassett, Blue Monday, Isle of Mull cheddar, Lincolnshire Poacher and Camembert with black truffle. The Camembert was my favorite and left to the last to savour. This often happens where an all British cheese offering is on the menu, it totally distracts me from everything else that’s there and depending on who I am dinning with, can be frustrating as the whole “lets share our desserts because I can’t decide between these two” idea pretty much flies out of the window if I’m fixating on the cheese trolley.
A bit of cheese trivia to end, Blue Monday is made by Alex James ex Blur bassist… can’t beat a bit of celebrity cheese! 🙂