I spent last Friday morning cheese tasting at the home of Annie Stirk of Absolutely Food PR and food consultant at Yorkshire Life.
Annie had amassed a couple of dozen Yorkshire cheeses and invited three of us, Sophie Jewett, the chocolatier and inspiration behind Little Pretty Things of York, Susan Hanning of Weeton’s, the superior deli in Harrogate, and yours truly, to taste and rate the cheeses for a feature in Deliciously Yorkshire’s new produce directory to be published in the summer.
It was good to see so many good quality Yorkshire cheeses and to compare them. There was the odd shocker. Hawes Creamery’s new chilli cheese hasn’t improved since I blogged about it back in February and that was the overwhelming verdict at Annie’s, too. A few were mediocre and some were outstanding.
Here are my top five:
Bells Bluemin White is the newest cheese from Judy Bell’s Shepherd’s Purse stable and is fabulous. The pick of the bunch for me and the rest of the panel loved it, too. It’s a soft, creamy cow’s milk cheese with a bloomy rind. Runny at the edges, firmer in the centre and altogether gorgeous.
Swaledale with Old Peculiar. We tasted three lovely rinded Swaledales, but the beer in this one gave it a wonderfully yeasty flavour. According to Sophie, it tasted like the inside of a pub, the day after the night before which sounds like an insult but wasn’t meant to be, rather a whiff of yeasty, beery flavours. Great stuff.
Buffalo Blue is another delicious Shepherd’s Purse cheese – soft, blue and incredibly creamy. Fantastic.
Kit Calvert’s Wensleydale. You can find out about Yorkshireman Kit Calvert saviour of Wensleydale cheese on our cheese pages though it’s hard to find this lovely top of the range Wensleydale in the shops. Best bet is a specialist cheese shop or deli like Weeton’s. Crisp, fresh and crumbly, it would be sublime with a piece of fruit cake.
Ribblesdale sent us a lovely range of cheeses. We liked the white firm Goat’s milk cheese and the ewes milk but best of all was the Ribblesdale Cows Milk cheese, a beautiful, full flavoured, rinded cheese.