March saw the launch of our first cheese tasting events. We are all familiar with wine or beer tastings, well this was the same but with cheese. In the relaxed surrounding of House, on St Benedicts Street, over 15 Caseophiles joined us to find out more about their favourite food.
While munching on homemade butter with fresh bread we discovered some of the origins of cheese, a little bit of how we make this divine product before we start to taste.
Our first cheese was Mozzarella di Bufala (PDO). This cheese is made from a fat rich Buffalo milk and can only be made is certain regions around Rome (Italy). It was this soft, white, stringy, squishy cheese we used to learn how to judge cheese. How did it look? Taste? Feel? Smell? and finally what was its aftertaste?
Next, we moved on to a Goats cheese, picking one that was very subtle yet stilled showed the expected traits of a Goats cheese we selected Bettine, from the Netherlands. This is one of the most popular goats’ cheese in the Netherlands, which shows the rise in popularity of artisan cheese as this farmer started with only 2 goats in the 1980’s and now works with a cooperative of over 40 farms.
Exploring all the common animals used for cheese making our next cheese is a Sheep’s cheese made in Sardinia, Pecorino Sardo (PDO). This cheese comes in 2 styles Dolce, and Maturo. For this tasting we sampled the Dolce (young) version, slightly firm but with a bit of a rubber feel, this is a cheese normally grated over food, yet is paired beautifully with the oat biscuits.
Cheese 4 & 5
For a little change the next 2 cheeses were served with a beer and together. Both of the cheeses were cheddars, Pilgrims Choice, is a block cheddar and one of the biggest sellers in the UK. This was paired with a local cloth bound cheddar of Norfolk Dapple. Both cheeses have a hint of dairy sweetness with some salt and savoury notes. To bring out the sweetness of the cheese and create images of the traditional Ploughman’s lunch, we paired these 2 cheeses with Timothy Tailors Landlord. A very traditional English IPA, with a malty backbone similar to a fresh malty loaf.
Our final cheese was a local blue, Binham Blue is produced near Wells-Next-To-Sea by Catherine Temple. This cheese is a delicate soft crumbly blue, not as intense as Stilton with blue grey veins running through it. To end the evening, we paired this with Chocolate Wine, a port like liquor with dark chocolate touches.
The favourite cheese of the evening was difficult to decide with a split between the Goats, Binham Blue and the Pilgrims Choice.
See below for the full notes on the tasting