Stewart Lee agrees.
(A little background. https://www.stewartlee.co.uk/plagiarists-corner/crisps-cheese-stewart-lee-stewart-lee/ )
With National Cheese Day looming, turophiles have been stocking up, according to a fresh top 10 of searches for the UK's favourite lockdown cheeses. Recipe box slingers Gousto say searches for "Cheese and Wine Night" have jumped by 203 per cent – though of course they would. While the phrase, for some, might conjure up …
Reared on the Lancashire-Yorkshire border, my day-to-day cheeses are Lancashire and Cheshire, slightly sour and crumbly, with good bread and olives. Wensleydale, to me, is becoming too creamy, perhaps because they now export a lot to the US? My late mother did like the Wensleydale with cranberries, though.
I came down to London early 80s. Walked into my local shop and saw an enormous row of cheeses. At first sight this was very promising. Until I realised that almost very single one was a variety of Cheddar. Including various imported Cheddars. I quickly learnt that this was replicated even in the big supermarkets. Up to 50% of the shelf space and of the number of varieties of cheese were all just varieties of Cheddar.
I don't mind a bit of Cheddar. I had some grilled on toast for my lunch today. And for a Plough Person's Lunch with a pint it seems perfect.
But it ain't that special. It's a good almost generic, slightly sour flavoured, slightly waxy OKish cheese.
But that's it.
I came down to London early 80s … almost very single one was a variety of Cheddar.
This may well be because of the Milk Marketing Board, which was the big cheese(*) in charge of dairy products until the 90s. Monopolistic quangos are not known for useful innovation. For useless innovation however, see Lymeswold.
"Oddly, the number of dairy farms has fallen by ~75% since then."
The number of dairy farms has fallen as the smaller, less efficient ones have gone. The amount of milk produced has increased since the monolithic MMB closed. The amount of milk now going to cheese producers has risen over 36% in the last twenty years and exports of cheese has more than doubled. There has been a huge increase in the number of small artisan cheesemakers. (Blessed are the chessemakers etc.) There have though been large losses in dried milk and condensed milk.
I had missed the fact that tomorrow is National Cheese Day so, as I should right now be sitting in a restaurant in France eating cheese, I have just got out a selection from the cellar and a nice, large glass of red wine...
My Father did some work for the Milk Marketing Board designing the meters that measured how much liquid was being pumped from the holding tanks on the farms into the tanker.
If I remember correctly (it was a long time ago) there was a unique numeric identifier entered into the box at each pickup that then had the volume of milk recorded against it. This was then retrieved from the box at the destination and used to generate the separate accounts.
Why cheddar? I caught part of a documentary recently which asserted that cheddar was chosen by the UK government as the "cheese" part of World War Two rationing at least partially on the basis that it cuts fairly well without making wasteful crumbs. The population became used to cheese == cheddar and we're still living with the results.
The properly aged cheddars (at least 18 months) are good.
But then we have
Cheshire - the sharper the better
Most of the other hard cheeses
I’m not a fan of blue cheeses.
But the worst cheese in the world is mild cheddar.... you may as well chew a bar of soap for all the flavour it doesn’t have.
"But the worst cheese in the world is mild cheddar"
You haven't faced the choice of "Would you like American, Cheddar or Swiss?" All three taste the same and differ only in colour. The taste starts off bland and rapidly runs behind a sofa and hides.
I live near Cheddar Gorge and it's not right what some of them do to cheese over there ...
You didn't properly chew your bar of soap if you think it tasteless. I once bit into one as a kid, taking it for marzipan. It takes a lot of water and time to recalibrate your tastebuds after such an experience. .
Nothing beats experimental science, I say.
Orange wrapped in foil? Heresy, it's a potato you use, none of that posh fruit stuff. The correct form is pickled onion, square block of ham then cheese. It should always be placed in the centre of the table surround by the other horderves. Aspic recipes are a must for people with discerning tastes.
"Don't get me started on Apple-smoked cheddar .. costs 10x more than normal cheddar."
Make your own. Fire up your grill, wait for the coals to burn down to almost nothing and scrape them off to one side. Throw a handful of apple chips (or twigs) on the fire side, wait for them to start smouldering, then place your cheese on a bit of doubled heavy-duty foil as far away from the fire as you can, with the lid on. You're aiming for a temperature of around 165F (75C) near the cheese. Leave on the smoke for just a couple minutes. Experiment with the timing to figure out your preference ... seconds can matter! Works for any cheese, but be careful with some of the riper, runny varietals.
Disclaimer: I personally don't like smoked cheeses ... but the people I make it for tell me that this method works very well.
That is an insult to Stilton and the fine people who make it. (I come from close to the village of Stilton)
If you want to equate MS to anything then let it be a very ripe 'Tomme de Savoie'.
Smelly, takes the roof off your mouth when eaten and only consumed in very small quatities. Once tried, never forgotten and seldom tasted again.
Once tried, never forgotten and seldom tasted again.
The Dwarf bread of cheeses, then.
'Have you ever eaten dwarf bread?’
‘Everyone should try it once,’ said Carrot. He appeared to consider this. ‘Most people do,’ he added
- Men at Arms - Terry Pratchett
Thanks for posting that link - it was an excellent example of British satire. Made me think of an old Monte Python script.
Wait, what did you say? She was being serious? She is actually a government minister? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Tell me another one.
"Surprisingly – and to much consternation at The Reg – Red Leicester has taken the top spot"
I suspect that ElReg is talking about supermarket, mass-produced cheese. I get a kilo of Red Leicester sent to me by a friend every month or two. It's hand made on a farm not very far away from Bosworth Field, and is truly lovely stuff ...
You people complaining about cheese should step over the border into Canada, particularly BC.
Supermarket "cheese" here is a sin against humanity and simultaneously expensive.
It is possible to get nice cheese here, and *good* Canadian cheddar is a tasty treat. But a decent block of cheddar will set you back around $15 CAD. :O
Stilton was, is, and shall remain the king of cheeses.
I expect the French to turn up their noses at it but ElReg and Britain? Shame.
I have fond memories of shocking the chef in the early 70s at Britain's first starred Michelin restaurant, Le Gavroche. I asked for a bit of Stilton to be added to my cheese plate and was told that while they cook with it they never actually serve it. I insisted and if went better with the port than any of the other cheeses.
P.S. Microsoft is Swiss cheese - bland and full of big irregular holes.
I've supported systems that stank like Maroilles.
Rather like durian fruit, the sublime flavour of Maroilles can only be enjoyed by those who can endure the proximity of something that smells so strongly. For those who can't quite get near to the cheese itself, a tarte au Maroilles is a less hard core way to enjoy this delicious cheese.
Red Leicester is one of the most varied of English named cheeses. It ranges from pale bland and rubbery (a la Tesco) to sharp, crumbly and delicious. At its best it deserves the top spot (at least on a shared basis). At its worse, even mice aren't attracted to it.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020