As befitting my status as The Cheese Lord, I decided to hold a Cheesemas party this year.
Last year we held a wine tasting. Which is a posh way of saying that we bought lots of bottles of nice wine, printed out tasting notes, and pretended we knew what we were talking about.
This is the same. But with cheese. LOTS of cheese.
Luckily, a Cheesemonger has opened a shop nearby - Jericho Cheese. Serving a selection of the finest British & Irish cheeses. This is what their shop counter looks like:
SO. MUCH. CHEESE.
I spent a happy hour talking with the proprietor, sampling the cheeses, and deciding on the 10 that would be good enough to serve to my friends.
Temping as that was... We laid a table with an array of crudités, breads, crackers, chutneys, pickles and assorted nibbles. All served up in little bamboo boats.
The cheese rested for a couple of hours before the party.
I also printed out a bunch of tasting notes from the web. I don't think many people read them though!
Naturally, it is crucial to pair the right wine with the right cheese.
It turns out that most wine goes well with cheese! As does port. And Cucumber gin. And prosecco. I accidentally mixed a splash of Scotch with a full glass of Champagne and found my new favourite cocktail! I really need to get cheaper tastes...
Here's what we had.
- Gorwydd Caerphilly
- A clean tasting, uncomplicated cheese. Very munchable.
- Isle of Mull Cheddar
- A decent cheddar. I prefer mine to be a little more aged and tangy. But nothing wrong with this.
- Perfect little goat's cheese. Crumbly and fun.
- Easy to see why this is a multi award-winner. Flavour and texture in a perfect combination.
- The best damn cheese of the evening. Strong, sultry, runny, and overpowering.
- A British Camembert. Everyone remarked on how it was one of the finest camemberts they'd tasted. Not a single scrap of it left by the end of the night.
- Sinodun Hill
- A goat's cheese pyramid. Lovely flavour, but not a huge hit. Plenty left at the end of the evening.
- Colston Bassett Stilton
- The only Stilton worth eating. Everything else is a pale imitation. Pungent and powerful.
- Another blue cheese, very similar to the Stilton - but richer and creamier.
- Slightly underwhelming on reflection. Hard to compete with so many strong flavours.
- Innes Log
- Goat's cheese log. Not massively exciting, but a good solid cheese to go on a cracker.
Some of our guest bought along their own cheesy comestibles.
- Blacksticks White - a fine little blue cheese. Not as strong as the others.
- Cheese Strings - an abomination. Included ironically. Inedible.
- Babybel - a palate cleanser. Marginally more tasty than the wax it is wrapped in.
- Primula - a nostalgia cheese. Utterly inoffensive.
I asked Jericho Cheeses for 10 different cheeses, about £20 worth each. I figured that would be enough for the two-dozen people at the party. We ended up with 11 cheeses for £198 and, despite our guests' best efforts, a fridge full of the remnants!
Not bad! Cheaper than a wine tasting evening, at any rate.
My mate Stu now knows exactly how much cheese and wine the human body can contain without a critical storage failure.