Monday, 29 April 2013

Britain's Stinkiest, Full-Flavoured Cheeses

We tend to think of Europe as home to strong, stinky cheeses such as Gorgonzola and Roquefort, which got me wondering: do we have any strong and smelly cheeses that are made in Britain? I did some research and asked the British Cheese Board and cheese experts from Paxton and Whitfield for some advice. Here's what they suggested...

10 minute quesadillas and cheesy nachos
Grandma Singleton's Strong Lancashire... perfect on nachos and in quesadillas...

Belton's Red Fox
Not a really pungent cheese, but worth a mention for its complex flavour. At first glance, it looks a bit like a block of Red Leicester but once you taste it, you find some intense sweet and savoury flavours and a light crunch, thanks to the naturally-occurring calcium lactate crystals. These are also a sign that a cheese has matured, as this is how the crystals are developed. 

Davidstow Extra-Mature Cheddar
This cheese is matured for more than 20 months, which gives it a really rounded flavour, still similar to the sweet flavour of regular Davidstow but with a tang and deeper flavour. The British Cheese Board says that this Cornish cheese 'is one for the real cheese connoisseur.'

Oxford Isis
Paxton and Whitfield recommended this one, and describe it as having a 'pungent, spicy tang'. It was created in 2003 in Oxfordshire to compete with French cheeses such as Epoisses and Soumaintrain and it's been popular ever since. It's washed in honey mead and matured for over a month. Check out Oxford Isis on Paxton and Whitfield's website for more details. 

Lake District Extra Mature Cheddar
As I mentioned in an earlier post on British cheese, not all Cheddars are created equal. And recently, the British Cheese Board launched a flavour map to prove it. Cheeses can be sweet and nutty (e.g. Leicestershire Red), tangy (Whitefriar's Cheshire), earthy or 'farmy' (Keen's Mature Cheddar) and also savoury or meaty. Lake District Extra Mature Cheddar falls in this category and the British Cheese Board describe it as having a 'unique, intense flavour' that's also 'complex and balanced.'


Stinking_bishop_cheese
Stinking Bishop cheese, photo from Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
 
Stinking Bishop
A perfect name for a cheese, if you ask me. But the name of this famous cheese actually comes from the variety of pear used to make the perry that the cheese is washed in. Regardless, the cheese has a fruity flavour with a strong aroma. The texture changes as the cheese matures, too, starting from creamy and firm to softer and full-flavoured. Paxton and Whitfield offer Stinking Bishop on their website, go and have a look for more information. 

Cornish Blue
Unlike British Stiltons, Cornish Blue cheese is moist and sticky, and, the British Cheese Board say, has a flavour similar to Gorgonzola. Matured for 12 weeks, the cheese has a tang to it, too. Tear off and dot in salads or add to savoury tarts or quiches. 

Grandma Singleton's Strong Lancashire
Lancashire - the best cheese for melting, I reckon. The British Cheese Board recommend this one for its 'long, lingering aftertaste' and the fact that it's made from the curds of three different days. Strongly-flavoured, it's great as it is, a chunk cut off a cheeseboard - but it also makes a killer cheese on toast or grate a little over nachos before topping with jalapeƱo slices and baking (one of my favourites).

Have I missed any? What are your favourite stinky and full-flavoured British cheeses? 

Thanks to Paxton and Whitfield and the British Cheese Board for their advice for this post. 



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