Cheese. From the iconic Wallace and Gromit series to the comforting cheddar and tomato sarnies which may find their way into every picnic basket, Britain seems to be in love with the stuff.
Eaten on its own, in sandwiches, cooked in pastry parcels, atop pies, mixed into fillings, grilled between two slices of white bread, in sauces, infused in flaky straws, in scones muffins and in countless other ways. Is there any other food which may be considered such a staple of celebratory dining? The finale to every celebration, whether it is the spiced goodies of Christmas or the fresh, vivacious greens of Easter, may always be the cheese board. Served with crackers, grapes and a selection of other little tempting bites, cheese reigns supreme as the object of national affection. Perhaps though, its ubiquity may be something of a mixed blessing. It’s a product, which seems to grace every fridge.
The Positive took to the streets of London to test this theory and the results left much to be desired. Only half actually knew how cheese was made, and one in ten knew the difference between brined, washed rind and hard cheese. Smelly, non-smelly and rubbery were among the most popular classifications of this beautiful dairy product and few knew even basic combinations such as washed rind cheese with grapes, or cheddar and apple.
Those which need to expand their knowledge of this dairy treat may do so in a variety of ways. The Internet has many helpful guides, as may the local library.
La Fromagerie may be London’s finest cheese shop. Amongst the wooden, straw lined shelves customers may find some of the tastiest and most adventurous cheese in all of Britain. Sourced from all around the world, with a focus on products from the Continent, it offers the full range of cheese eating experiences. Buffalo, sheep, cow and goat cheese are all available in a wide selection, as is an extensive range of wines with which to pair them. A particular highlight is the Crayeux de Roncq, a cow’s milk cheese which is washed in beer and saltwater. The flavoursome rind gives way to a creamy, crumbly and exceptionally rich interior which may be ideally paired with a slice of toasted brioche.
Customers may taste it for themselves in the tasting room. Open until 4pm every day, this little cafe seems to offer coffee, a selection of pastries and, of course, a variety of cheeses. These dairy offerings are a innovative way to delve into the world of different cheese types for the uninitiated, and a tasty treat for those which already have the knowledge.
It’s the cheese room’s staff members though, which may be the real stars of the show. Throwing stereotypes out of the window, these experts are friendly, passionate and welcoming to both new and past customers. Their expansive knowledge may be the perfect way to go from a cheddar and pineapple man to a lover of the plethora of cheeses which Europe may boast. Buying in small quantities is happily offered here, and customers are treated with the same respect and attention if they are looking for a pizza topping as they are if they’re looking to buy five wheels for an exclusive dinner party.
Oh, and it’s next door to a branch of the previous hidden gem: The Ginger Pig?
What iconic recipes may be altered with different cheeses, aside those used from the norm?