So, onto our second Homage2Fromage event. This time bigger, better, with more cheese and some tasty beers..what more could a cheese freak need?
We held this month's event at Dock Street Market and doubled the amount of tickets. Bit scary, but we had a total ball. I loved meeting everyone and making new fromage-friends.
This month was goat's cheese. A somewhat polarising cheese, some love it, some hate it. In my job at a large supermarket chain, we have to consider carefully when we include goat's cheese in dishes as we know some people really dislike it. We have to mellow it out and choose cheeses with less acidity to leave the rich pureness of flavour without too much "goat" tang.
Our aim for the event was to introduce a variety of goat's cheese types from hard and semi-soft cheeses right through to an almost liquid Yellison's Farm cheese. All very different, but all utterly scrumptious.
Here are the five hero cheeses we nibbled on, sourced from a variety of delis and cheesemongers in and around the city, including a supermarket. I'm a big believer that good food isn't the premise of independent or small local shops. That big place we all do our weekly shop in has a vast array of fantastic quality cheese that should be celebrated.
- Swaledale Cheese Company – Goats cheese
This Yorkshire artisan cheese producer has been producing cheese for many years, and in the Swaledale area for many centuries. It is thought that cheese-making was first brought to the Yorkshire Dales in the 11th century by Cistercian monks who arrived from Normandy and settled in local abbeys. They passed on their cheese-making techniques to local farmers and Swaledale Cheese was born.
The recipe of this delicious goat’s cheese is a family secret in the Longstaff family, who passed it down the generations and then in the 1980s to David and Mandy Reed. The Reed family still run the family business in Richmond, North Yorkshire and it has gone from strength to strength winning lots of awards.
Their cheese is made by hand using traditional methods and slowly matured for maximum flavour. The original cows and ewes milk Swaledale is the only Yorkshire cheese to have protected designation of origin (PDO) from the EU.
Available at Anthony’s, Millies, Haley and Clifford and Waitrose.
- Smoked Ribblesdale Goat cheese
Ribblesdale Cheese company is made up of three cheese-makers (Lydia, Stuart and Iona) in Hawes, North Yorkshire who specialise in goat cheese from a single herd. They make everything by hand and in a long slow traditional way. They have their own smoker, an Afos, in which they gently smoke their cheese.
The Smoked Ribblesdale cheese has a silky texture and is very lightly smoked over oak so that the flavour of the cheese isn’t overwhelmed by the smoking process.
Available at Millies and Haley and Clifford.
- Drunken Goat Cheese or Murcia Al Vino
This is a sweet, creamy goat’s cheese made in the Murcia region of Spain.
The drunken aspect of the cheese is the purple rind that is the result of soaking the cured cheese in red wine.
Made using the pasteurised milk from local Murciana goats in the town of Jumilla, Spain, the wine it is soaked in is called Doble Pasta which is a richer, more heavy wine due to its double fermentation process. The cheese is aged for two and a half months and has a semi-soft texture.
Available at Morrisons and Salts.
- Chevre log
This is a classic French goat’s cheese made in the Loire region and has a dense texture with a bloomy rind. Made from fresh, pasteurised goat’s milk, the cheese ripens towards its use by date and the initially firm heart becomes softer and creamier from the rind inwards. As it does so the flavour develops gently to a clear, medium goat level and the texture softens.
It is fresh and moist with a slightly sharp and subtly acidic flavour. Perfect for the cheese board but wonderful cooked.
Available at Millies and Haley and Clifford
- Yellison’s Farm “Crowdie”
Another great Yorkshire goat’s cheese producer - based in Carleton Craven near Skipton North Yorkshire. They have won a tonne of awards and their cheese is used by top chefs and restaurants.
They use milk from their own herd of goats and it travels all of 15 metres to get to their dairy. It is then handmade into a range of creamy goat’s cheeses.
They produce this delicious spreadable goat’s cheese called Crowdie.
Here are Leigh's beer and Cheese Matching Tips
Beer and Cheese are such naturally good bedfellows, that there isn’t a definitive guide out there. There are countless combinations for you to discover; here’s a quick beginner’s guide to illustrate which styles work well together.
Even better (and more fun) is matching locality – pairing Yorkshire Beers and Cheese, for example.
Stouts and Porters are full of chocolate and roast malt flavours – so you’ll be looking for something creamy and sweet to pair up with. Ricotta is excellent with Stouts, as are lighter Goat’s Cheeses.
IPA (India Pale Ale) is usually strong, big in flavour and with a bitter, high citrus kick. Therefore, they can fend of flavours in aggressive, briny cheeses such as Stilton, Aged Blues, or Blue Gorgonzola. Stronger Belgian Golden Ales such as Duvel also work wonders with Blue cheeses – especially the creamier ones.
Bitters and ESB (Extra Special Bitters), Marzen and Brown Ales are Cheddar and Wensleydale’s best friend. Any creamy, crisp and full-bodied cheddar such as Wensleydale’s Abbot’s Choice will do well with these beers. You could also go for any firm, continental mid-palate Cheeses such as Swiss Cheeses and Manchego.
Wheat Beers and Pale Ales have a lot of fruity flavours and smooth textures happening, so paired with salty Feta or stronger Goat’s Cheese you get a nice balance.
Pilsners and Lagers are smooth and flinty, so smooth, creamy cheeses like Brie and light, white Cheddars will be a good place to start here. A particular favourite of mine is Grilled Halloumi and Pilsner.
Finally, Fruit beers will work with any sweetish cheese such as ones with fruit in (apricot/raspberry) and Mascarpone.
Bit of a long post, but loads of cheesy beery info for you all to digest.
Until next time, when we'll be doing blue cheese!