Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Martlet Gold - (with harmless mould)

I do try and keep an eye out for new cheeses when I can. I do it when I go round the supermarkets, but I really love it going round local farmers markets tasting local produce and fresh flavours and smells - you find some amazing stuff. Phwoaarrrrr! 

At the weekend, I wandered round the farmers market in Farnham. They say that you shouldn't go food shopping on an empty stomach, and for once, I had heeded that warning and had a big egg and cheese (!) toasted sandwich for Sunday breakfast. I walked round slowly, adamant that I wasn't going to leave with yet another bag of cheese. With a full tummy I passed the cheese stalls, local sausages of wild boar and black pudding, tongue tantalizing quinces and chutneys, and quietly laughing to myself "Hehehe... I win this round tasty food!! Sce-rew youuu". Then, just before leaving, a lonely stand selling goats cheese caught my eye. The blue tractor-ray beam burst out from the cheeses on the table top, locked on and I was a gonner. At this point my brain overruled the satisfied tummy - "well, ...I suppose we don't have any goats cheeses in at the moment". "That is true", said tummy "they look GOOOORgeous and I could really go a soft goats cheese on crusty bread when we get in". And it was done.

The Martlet Gold is a soft goats cheese with a pungent rind produced by Nut Knowles Farm in East Sussex. It's a new cheese of theirs and may look like it's been found in a dirty sock under the bed  growing a new mould friend called Herman ("Hey!! I found my Martlett and...oh....urgh, well....I shall call him Herman!") but the mix of the strong, smelly blue-ish cheese and the powerful goats flavours are such a good combo. I'm giving this a 7. To try it you'll need to catch Nut Knowles Farm at one of the many farmers markets  on their tour, but its well worth a try! Just keep telling yourself - it's meant to have mould, it's meant to have mould!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Cambozola - the hybrid!!

Superhero fans, kids, bored students and Stan Lee alike have for decades now held the debate on the best superhero out there, posing to eachother the question in school playgrounds and watching late-night television - "Ok, ok....who would win, the Hulk OR Thing!?". Random reasoning ensues based on a loose application of scientific reasons why your chosen choice would obviously be the last one standing. "Well what about this one - Spiderman OR Batman!?" (the answer is Spiderman). Bottom line is that there would be a clear cut winner in a fight to the death situation even though both are AWESOME.

But what about when powers are combined and both sets of incredible characteristics are inherited. The resulting  product becomes greater than the sum of its parts. For example - imagine a young 'Thing' (made of muscley stone) becoming even more powerful and green when it got angry. "Whoa!" I hear you say. Whoa indeed. And what about the baby from the Disney film "Incredibles" that shows massive promise at the end of the film and ultimately saves the day by using the lethal combination of powers inherited by his parents? Case closed.

That's what Cambozola is like. Imagine if you will a hard working Danish blue (Anders) heading home from a hard day in the office. He has a spring in his step from the news given to him earlier that day (in his performance 1:1 interview) that his work has not gone unnoticed with the directors and he is getting that long awaited promotion. Having just bought the house with his French Brie wife (Camille) last summer, the time couldn't be better for them than now to start the family that they had so longed and waited for. Unexpectedly, Anders arrives at their little wooden bread-bin home first, encountering a short message on the chalk board in the kitchen: "Gone to drop some milk at mum's -luv ya baby x". Anders seeks his chance. He has 15 minutes tops. He opens the chilled bottle of Bollinger sitting in the garage fridge that was given as a house warming gift and thought it would never see the light of day again, and then runs upstairs. He runs into the bedroom, draws the curtains, and lights the four dusty candles of different sizes, shapes and scents around the room. He then strips down to his red tie and sprawls himself over their queen sized bed. Upon hearing Camille's key hit the lock he hits play on the remote and Barry White "I'm gonna love you just a little more" sounds out from the speakers. Camille enters the room, sees the bubbly on the side and Anders lying with one leg cocked - "I got it baby!", he says. The soft French brie smiles, lets out a suppressed shriek of joy and approaches the bed. Here the lights dim, the music gets louder and I leave you to your filthy imaginations... ;)

And Cambozola was born - inheriting traits from each of its parents. Deliciously smooth, brie-like texture with bursts of the stronger character of blue. A-mazing in sandwiches, especially with good ham, and just great to bed on the board if you are not sure whether you fancy something smooth or something stronger. I friggin love it. It gets an 8.5 from me. High rollers for the hybrid! 

Ashmore - semi-hard woody cheese

As one of my Christmas presents I was treated to another random product of the House of Cheese from Zoe. Ashmore is a semi-firm cheese with a browny rind. For those who have ever had a tour round old wine or port cellars (like those in Porto, Portugal), it brings with it those kinds of woody, smoky aromas that you would get from walking round the HU(A)GE barrels of aged grapie goodness! Oh man it's great. Some oaky cheeses go to the point where they start messing with your sinus. That's one hell of a no-no. This one is reasonably strong but just right. I'll rate it at about 7.

"It's woodily wonderful"