…so wrote Harold McGee on the sublimely delicious, diversely characterful and nourishing simplicity created by one ingredient – milk, and a little magic – cheese. Last night I spent my evening at The Ludlow Food Centre enjoying a delicious wine and cheese tasting evening. I learnt a lot about nasal breathe out, viscosity, long legs, youth, bloom and noble rot. I have to say I was suffering a little from cheese nausea by the end of the evening – but it was lovely to discover some beautiful, artisan cheeses local to Ludlow, some using milk from a single herd.
Here are a couple of my favourite combinations that we tried –
Perroche, Neal’s Yard Creamery – a clean, fresh and creamy unpasteurised goat’s cheese. Try with Tinpot Hut Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand 2011 – pale, with a vibrant flavour.
Remembered Hills Blue, Ludlow Food Centre – a softly spicy English Blue, with a very creamy, smooth pate. Try with Bianchi Late Harvest Semillon, San Rafael, Argentina 2004 – a beautifully smooth, honeyed wine.
I was mightily impressed to hear that Great Britain produces around 700 cheeses, and our French neighbours a mere 400 fromages; that 8,000 litres of milk makes a mere 800kg of cheese; and that the same cheese can taste very different depending on the time of year the animal is milked and whether they have been grazing on summer meadows or fragrant winter hay. I was humbled to realise the skill and time – and subsequent cost – involved in making artisan cheeses. I never knew there was so much to learn about the art of cheese and I may never be able to look a laughing cow in the eye again.
So with a car-full of cheese and wine I was deliriously guided home, only to wake up the next morning from a fitful sleep of nightmares to a breakfast of cheese on toast.