Ever since I read about cloth bound cheddar in The Art of Eating I knew that I had to try some. I've had one or two now and not found anything to love. And then the other day we tried some Wensleydale made for Neal's Yard. This without question is the finest Cheddar I've ever had. Nothing comes close.
Wensleydale is made by a large producer, but this cheese is made specially for Neal's Yard, and it is old school cloth bound farmhouse Cheddar. The cheese is just delicious. It is moist but not entirely so, and also a bit crumbly. It tastes of grass and fresh cream and is beautifully balanced. I love the subtlety of this cheese - it is gentle and quiet, but it really lingers. I enjoyed imagining eating it in an inn somewhere in rural England, perhaps The Slaughtered Lamb from American Werewolf in London, perhaps with a hunk of bread and a glass of something. It is smooth and creamy and very difficult to stop eating.
We tried grating this cheese into scrambled eggs - very nice. We tried melting on bread - excellent. But the best way to eat it, I think, is simply to slice it and eat it on its own. We did this a little while back, some good whole grain bread, and a simple salad on the side.
What to drink with a cheese like this? There were all sorts of good suggestions the last time I wrote about cloth bound Cheddar. We drank beer this time, specifically stout, and it was perfect. Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, to be exact. The sweet and slightly bitter taste of the almost black beer played beautifully with the creamy smooth cheese. I'm telling you, the combination of this just slightly effervescent dark beer with the Wensleydale is dangerous.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010