I have an absolutely excellent brother, who sent me a big box of cheese from The Fine Cheese Company in Bath for my birthday. (He’s got the hang of this birthday lark; he sent my Mum a big box of oysters for hers. Go Ben.)
The Fine Cheese Company are great – their cheese is beautifully kept, and the cheeses in the box arrived at a perfect stage of ripeness: the stinky cheeses were stinky, the soft ones meltingly gooey.
This particular selection, called the Sisters in Cheese Box, is all produced by female cheesemakers. My initial reaction on learning this was ‘Out of what?’, but it turns out that the milk in question is actually squirted benignly out of sheep and cows. I think I just have a filthy mind.
You can see the cheeses above. The top cheese, soft and unctuous, was my favourite. It’s a half baby Wigmore, made by Anne Wigmore in Berkshire from ewes’ milk, and it’s a wonderfully sticky little beast. Moving clockwise, the hard cheese with the yellow label is a Curworthy, made to a centuries-old recipe. The next cheese is a delicious unpasturised Brie made by Debbie Mumford in Sharpham, Devon, and was by far the best (and best-kept) English Brie I’ve tasted. Finally, the wedge of cheese is the fruity Keltic Gold, a rind-washed hard cow’s cheese from Cornwall.
A useful card on the proper storage and keeping of cheese for those of us without a lovely cool pantry is included with the box, and this cheesy cornucopia kept us busy after dinner for several days, accompanied by lots of wine, some Bath Oliver biscuits and some digestives. Thanks Ben and Katie!