Tag Archives: Stilton

Toast Post: Cheese Wedges to Fill Your Stocking Toe


There’s always too much good cheese and not enough space in my Globe column to include it all so I’ve listed a few other cheesy ideas below (with advice from our local cheese mongers in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver).

SOBEYS (Ontario)

Fiscalini Ageing Rooms (photo from Fiscalinicheese.com)

Fiscalini, Clothbound Cheddar:

Andy Shay, the cheese buyer at Sobeys has just brought this California cheese into stores within the last week.  Made in traditional English style, this cheddar is a world-class award winner (including “outstanding Cheese of the Year”).  I’ve been looking forward to this one like, well, like a kid at Christmas.  (Also ask for it at Les Amis du Fromage in Vancouver)

Juliet Harbutt’s Line of British Cheese:

(For a detailed list of the whole line see my post on British Cheese)

Specially picked for best quality (and also keeping in mind being stored at a larger retailer) all these cheeses are fairly hardy and can be left out for an afternoon of nibbling.  The Stilton is made by Cropwell Bishop who make some of the most outstanding examples of this product.

A TASTE OF QUEBEC (Toronto)

Pied De Vent (photo from fromagesduquebec.qc.ca)

Located in the beautiful Distillery District the store carries only Quebec products.  Aside from amazing cheese you can get Quebec honey, charcuterie, preserves and lots of other easy to prepare nibbles.  Suzanne at the store recommended the following:

Pied de Vent

The name of this cheese refers to the sun’s rays peeking through the clouds. It has a copper-coloured rind and buttercup yellow paste. Until recently, Pied de Vent was only available in Quebec. This luscious cheese has a supple paste with a full, meaty aroma. The flavours are buttery, robust and nutty. A great after-dinner cheese all by itself.  (Also at Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, and Les Amis de Fromage, Vancouver)

La Tomme des Demoiselles

A hard pressed  cheese aged more than 6 months with salty and fruity flavours.  Made by the producers of Pied-de-Vent and also raw milk.

EVERYTHING CHEESE (Edmonton)

Chaource (photo from aritisinalcheese.com)

The scoop from Tania and Lydia at this great new (just over a year old) cheese shop in Edmonton is the following:

Chaource

This decadent double-creme is made in France’s Champagne region and is the perfect pairing for your bubbly.

Gingha Fruit Cheese

This  “Scottish Pear” is made with a mix of Scottish cheddar, cream cheese and pear Schnapps. It is formed in the shape of a pear and covered in wax.  (See how easy it is to eat more fruit?)

They also carry Shropshire Blue and classics like Epoisses, Valencay (so gorgeous on a cheese board), and Robiola (Heaven is a gooey Robiola).

LES AMIS DU FROMAGE (Vancouver)

Cropwell-Bishop Stilton

Allison at Les Amis was kind enough to stop and email me some ideas in between the holiday rush.  I’m putting my money on the Ported Stilton– apparently it’s going very fast!

Ported Stilton

The right way to marry your port and Stilton–have a professional do it.  “We pierce the outside of the Stilton and pour Port into the wheel, we start at the beginning of November and give it at least 6 weeks,” says Allison.

Goat Cheeses

They have lots of fabulous little goat cheese with fresh ash, Espelette peppers, aged pyramids, logs buttons, leaf-wrapped and soaked in Marc.

(these types of goat cheese are so lovely they must be seen to be appreciated, go immediately)

Mountain Cheeses

My favourite  cheese category–they’ve got lots reports Allison,  including Abondance from Savoie and Le Marechal from Switzerland.

BLUE CHEESE

Blue Juliette (photo from Provincial Fine Foods)

Today’s column, The Spread was based around Stilton and Roquefort and blues in general.  It was quite a struggle to whittle down, and here are a few other blues that you might consider (amongst dozens!  I know!)

Blue Juliette, pasteurized goat, BC

This soft, creamy, shadow of a blue is made from goat milk and hails from Salt Spring Island, BC.  There ‘s no oxygen allowed into the interior of this soft-ripened cheese so the mold only develops in a lace-like blue/green pattern on the rind.  Beautiful on a cheese board and only mildly feisty.

Montbriac (also known as Roche Baron), pasteurized cow, France

If Cambozola’s been your blue cheese compromise, ditch it for a sexy French ally.  A brie-like bloomy rind cheese that gets silky and runny when ripe, its exterior is a striking charcoal colour due to the ash covered rind.  Blue mold is minimal but creates a rich, tangy flavour with a hint of spice.

Erborinato al Cacao e Rum, raw cow, Italy

Tis the season of pampering, and if you’re hoping to indulge your guests look no further than this Erborinato from Italy’s Piedmonte region.  This blue is Infused with 8-yr old rum and coated in cocoa powder.  A hard-to-get cheese with an appropriate price tag, it’s currently available at Toronto’s Cheese Boutique. 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Ruminations on the Edible, Toast Posts

Cheese Whiz: British Cheese Tasting with Juliet Harbutt

That’s a half-wheel of Stilton (producer is Cropwell-Bishop)  staring you straight in the face.  And holding it is Juliet Harbutt, British cheese guru and knower of all things cheese-related. (There, I think I’ve deftly summed up Juliet’s dense full page resume of achievements).  Juliet, among many other things, started the British Cheese Awards in 1994 to help recognise excellence in British cheese.  She was in town last week (at The Cookbook Store) promoting a selection of British cheeses in Canada.

The entire selection consists of sixteen traditional cheese that have been consistent medal award winners at the British Cheese Awards. Only about 30% of 900 entries each year garner a medal and 22 “rise to the top” says Juliet.   Sobey’s is carrying six of her sixteen choices exclusively at their stores. (There is a bonus 7th cheese on the plate below)

So shall we get on with our tasting?

Starting at NOON (with the vibrant orange Red Leicester and moving clockwise)

1. Red Leicester

This was interesting for me.  I love Red Leicester and usually only buy the farmhouse clothbound version.  Tasting it next to the larger scale industrial version, there is no comparison.  But Juliet introduced us to this younger non-clothbound version which is made at a big creamery, but using artisinal methods.  It is made by The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company, a farmer’s cooperative in West Wales.

This wedge was younger than what I was used to but still had the savory-sweetness that intensifies as it ages.  Beautiful on a cheeseboard and easier to slice for a snack (or sandwich) when it is softer and younger.

2. Creamy Lancashire

Have you ever had a cheese and thought it was so-so and thus never tried it again?  (bad–don’t ever do that. Give Cheese a Chance)  I did that with Lancashire.  I had a crumbly, drier wedge one time and gave up.  This has me converted.  It’s buttery, tangy and richly mouth-coating.  Made with a loose curd, you can see the delineations where they been pressed together to form the cheese.  I mention Lancashire in my Globeholiday cheese column ….(PLUG!)  Juliet described the Lancashire as having a “raw onion tang”

3. Double Gloucester

Hailing from Lancashire England, the producer of this Double Gloucester is Butler’s Farmhouse Cheese.  It is made using traditional methods in open vats, cloth bound and matured for up to 8 months.  There is a slight hint of orange-pink to the paste as it is coloured with annato (a natural colouring from a South American seed also used in orange cheddar and the Red Leiscester).  Dense, nutty and firm textured.

Pale Orange Double Gloucester

4. Oak Smoked Lyburn Farms

Loved this one.  The smoke is subtle and delicate.  It’s naturally flavoured over oak chips and the milk comes from the cheesemaker’s own farm.  The cheeses has a caramel coloured rind and will win you over if you’ve been turned off by over-smoked fellows that leave a campfire in your mouth.

5. Wyfe of Bath

This was the “bonus” cheese and is not available at Sobey’s.  Wyfe of Bath is a creamy, buttery cheese made from organic milk and molded in cloth-lined baskets..   Juliet’s  identified a “rubber boot aroma” (that sharp, pleasant new-ness).

6. Special Reserve Shropshire Blue

The bright orange blue cheese on the upper left of the plate is the Shropshire Blue.  Made at Cropwell Bishop (as is the Stilton) it’s based on the Stilton recipe but was actually created in Inverness, Scotland in 1970.  Annato gives it its colour.  Peaks  at 3 months.  Not as strong as Stilton you still get buttery, cocoa notes and a real punch of colour on the cheese board.

Half-Stilton

7. Special Reserve Stilton

Only five producers make Stilton. Cropwell Bishop is one of them and the family has been making Stilton for over three generations.  Milk suppliers are hand-picked to ensure the quality of this famous cheese.  Also peaking at 3 months, this 13 week old piece was buttery, spicy with a dark cocoa flavour on the finish. You can see the beautiful, and typical “shattered porcelain” veining in the piece Julia is holding at the top.  Stilton is a dense cheese so the blue veining spreads in a finer, spidery pattern than seen in a looser blue like Roquefort.

Finally, if you’re looking for a great reference book of the cheese sort, The World Cheese Book edited by Juliet is great.  You can just have it sit by the bedside and nightly flip through pictures and well-written, succinct information about the world’s major cheeses.

Then you will hop out of bed for a midnight snack.

3 Comments

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Ruminations on the Edible, Toast Posts

Toast Post: Red Leicester

Red savoury heaven on Red Fife sourdough

It’s British, it’s bright orange and it’s looks slightly obnoxious on a plate.  Red Leicester will soon be your taste bud’s new BFF.  Les (all good friends should have a nickname) is so rich in savoury, nutty, sweet, umami-ness that he could be Parmesan’s bawdy, British cousin (thrice removed).  Don’t worry, he won’t overstay his welcome, in fact he’ll be gone much too soon.

It’ll be a testament to your willpower if you manage to save some for the toast you’re waiting to pop.  I shaved thin morsels of Red Leicester onto my sourdough but chunks are nice for a snack.  But not a snack you’ll want to share.  People will eye Les and as you unveil him from your lunchbox, and you might be forced to ask, “Would you like some?”  But maybe you’ll add something like,  “It’s quite past its due date but I didn’t want to waste bad cheese. God, I hope it isn’t rife with listeria from being wrapped and left out of the fridge with that cheap baloney!  Oh well, what’s life without some risks?  Please, help yourself, I insist. And take some for your baby too.

Red Leicester in 11 words or more: Leiscester (Less-ter) hails from Leiscester county in England and has been made since the 18th century.  It was original created as a use for milk left over from Stilton production.  Traditionally, it was produced in a cloth-wrapped  wheel which could weigh up to 45 lbs.  In today’s more common factory production it is often made in blocks.  Aged from 3-9 months, older is probably better in this case: firmer, flaky, concentrated flavour. The orange colour comes from annato which is the same natural dye used for orange cheddar.

1 Comment

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Ruminations on the Edible, Toast Posts