As promised, here is a list of the cheeses I will be eating over the holidays (not all at once, I hasten to add).
Gorwydd Caerphilly – Not only a very fine example of a great Welsh cheese, but also made by the people who operate the cheese shop in St. Nicholas’ Market in Bristol. Sorry I couldn’t get to you for my Christmas order, guys. This is also one of the best looking cheeses around. (And you can eat the rind.)
Sparkenhoe Red Leicester – The magnificent vintage version of this cheese that I found at the festival in Caerdydd isn’t generally available in shops, but the standard version is darn good. Deliciously nutty. A must try if all you have ever had of Red Leicester is the plastic stuff they sell in supermarkets.
Stichelton – Stilton is the must have cheese for the British Christmas. This is as good as it gets. They just can’t call it Stilton as it is made with unpasteurised milk (as are many of the cheeses listed here).
Appleby Cheshire – I’m not a great expert on Cheshire cheese, but this one looked good in the store so I thought I would try it. I’m pleased to say that my instincts severed me well. It is very dry, crumbly and flavorsome. Yum. I’ll be buying this again.
Paxton & Whitfield Cheddar – Most of my cheese shopping was done in Paxton & Whitfield in Bath. They are cunningly located just across the road from Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, and so manage to trap me every time I go looking for books. They make their own cheddar, and I thought it was about time I gave it a try. While it is far better than most cheddars you can buy, the competition is fierce so I don’t think it will become a favorite.
Saint Endelion – If you are going to eat Brie, why eat the French stuff when you can have something very similar made with Cornish double cream?
Stinking Bishop – Well it is Christmas, so you have to have a Bishop. Actually, though, name comes from the pear cider in which the rind is washed, and Stinking Bishop pears were named after a drunken farmer, not a port-sozzled clergyman. The cheese does stink, though, even though the plastic wrapper which I haven’t unsealed yet.
Green Thunder – Marjorie, who knows me far too well, gave me a small truckle of Snowdonia Cheese Company’s garlic- and herb-infused cheddar. It is delightfully powerful stuff — enough to put off even the most amorous of sparkly vampires. It may even chase off stinking bishops.
And finally, to go with the mince pies, I found a Wensleydale with run & raisin fudge in Tesco.
US readers should note that the Gorwydd, Sparkenhoe and Appleby were all featured in the Winter 2011 issue of Culture Magazine.