What’s the ultimate pong in cheese?

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The Ultimate Pong Box - not a gift to leave somewhere warm

 

I’ve always liked Pong, their selections are always great quality, and they take cheese seriously but not themselves.  So I love the new Ultimate Pong Box, which is definitely an interesting and surprising one to send someone!

They describe them as their most revered and feared, as the strongest, smelliest and most oozy cheeses. You’ve got Epoisses, which is banned on the Paris Metro. Hummingbark, which I’ve never heard of, is made to the same recipe as Vacherin D’Or and tastes lovely but stinks something dreadful.

Finn with double cream sounds indulgent beyond belief, though strong in both taste and smell, and then finish off the box with Royal Bassett Blue. So, a box of deliciousness but my word, you’re going to want to know the recipient is going to be home when this is delivered. If it’s sat in the sorting office for a few days, especially in the summer, well, everyone is going to know about it!

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Learning about seasonal cheese

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A Year In Cheese - fantastic cookbook to gift to a food lover with a serious love of cheese

 

I can’t say that I often think about cheese being a seasonal thing. I mean I think other than Mont D’Or Vacherin, I hadn’t really thought about it with anything else.

And yet I should, as I live up the road from a huge herd of dairy cows, and their milk goes to Long Clawson for Stilton. I feel sad when they go inside for the winter, and happy when they come back out in spring, so should know for sure that they are eating differently and therefore has to be affecting the milk.

 

Vacherin Mont D'Or Cheese

 

If you’re a food lover who loves their cheese, or need a gift for one, then A Year in Cheese is the perfect exploration of seasonal cheese. Written by Alex and Léo Guarneri, who are the driving forces behind Androuet in London, a fabulous sounding cheese shop that I could imagine not getting out of easily!

I want to make pretty much every recipe in the autumn section. Bavette with roquefort would make a fabulous dinner, perhaps preceded by the emmental, brie and serrano ham croquettes. And maybe the Montgomery cheddar and pale ale rarebit with cauliflower at lunchtime.

Or the raclette and emmental croque-monsieur with truffle oil.

See what I mean?

So, recipes to die for, fascinating information and beautiful photography. The only way to improve on this being the perfect food lover’s gift would be to give them cheese as well. Sadly, you can’t buy from Androuet online, so I would try Pong (they’re taking orders now for new season Vacherin Mont D’Or) or Paxton & Whitfield.

Published by Frances Lincoln,  A Year in Cheese is £18 currently on Waterstones.

 

Photo of Vacherin Mont D’Or by Edsel Little on Flickr.

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The Friday Five – Cheese, please!

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When chefs have too much time on their hands

 

In case you’re looking for something to do on 11 or 12 June, then you could come to the Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbray. Bringing some of the UK’s finest cheesemakers together, it’ll be a chance to taste and buy, not to mention stock up! So, this Friday’s Five are inspired by the glorious variety, not to mention current renaissance, of cheese.

* World Cheese Book by Juliet Harbutt – 800 cheeses. Huge variety of producing countries. Would be one heck of a road trip, or you can read around the subject and decide which ones to order in. Juliet Harbutt is a cheese geek of the first order, so there’s nothing she doesn’t seem to know about the subject. Great for a cheese lover, or someone who needs to get beyond just cheddar.

* Making Your Own Cheese: How to Make All Kinds of Cheese In Your Own Home – got to be the next step for a cheese enthusiast, making your own of all kinds, and supporting self-sufficiency beyond the veg patch. Not limited to soft cheese, this also guides you through a make at home process for hard, cheddar, goat and blue cheese amongst others. Keeping and milking your own cows, goats and sheep is optional though.

* The Great Big Cheese Cookbook: Because Everything Tastes Better With Cheese by James Robson – agree with the sentiments of the title, and love that there is a cheese recipe for pretty much any time of the day or any occasion. There’s breakfast cheese, appetiser cheese, even dessert cheese. I like the part on cheese substitutions as well, thought this was useful for reference when a cheese mood takes you, but not matched by the contents of your fridge.

* Historic Cheese: Leicestershire, Stilton and Stichelton by Trevor Hickman – okay, local bias I know, but these are three great cheeses, and with great history to them too. In case of Stichelton of course it’s a very modern history, but still fascinating, not to mention slightly controversial. I’d have a few samples of each to hand as you read each chapter.

* The Ultimate Philadelphia Cookbook – ah, a fridge standby for emergency sauces, cheesecakes or jacket potato fillings, but apparently so much more. This covers savoury and sweet dishes, both desserts and baked goods, and I can imagine would offer recipes that would make every day cooking a bit more cheesy, simple and tasty.

 

So all kinds of cheesiness to prepare you for the Artisan Cheese Fair, or just exploring the great bounty of cheeses on offer today.

Cheesy mouse sculpture photo by MGG. It rather caught her fancy. It put me off the cheeseboard!

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Cheesy Valentine’s Day Gift with Taste

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Oh yes, no sooner do you get out of Christmas mode than Valentine’s Day is upon us. And good on Pong for being quick off the mark with an offer of 10% off their Heart Shaped Boxof cheese.

I think this is a very sweet looking collection, but is also good, tasty cheese too. Neufchatel may be famous for being heart-shaped but it also gives you a pure and creamy cheese with a taste reminiscent of a good Camembert. Putting the some colour into this collection is the Godminster Organic Cheddar, with its purple wax casing, which keeps the creaminess of the cheese in the best condition.

Appropriately named for the season, White Heart Goat’s Cheese is a semi-hard goat’s cheese with a lemony hint to an overall fresh tasting cheese. Complement all three cheeses with Godminster Beetroot and Apple Chutney, and you’ve practically got a meal in a box! Add in a box of crackers and you’re all set.

The box is usually £25.95 but you can get 10% off with code HSBPC1, valid until 14 February. If you want to order it for delivery in time for Valentine’s Day then you need to order before 10 February.

Go on, this is the only cheesy Valentine’s Day gift I’m in favour of!

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Where do foodies register for their wedding?

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Where would foodies register? What to buy food lovers for their weddings

Being of the nosey/curious type, I love looking at the search terms people have put in to get to the blog. There’ve been all kinds of weird and wonderful ones, not to mention some very err, creative, spellings. But this one seemed an entirely appropriate question, and the sort of thing I would want to know the answer to! So, here’s a few thoughts from me:

1. How about seeing if your favourite local deli or wine shop will run a list for you? In fact, I am surprised not more local specialist stores have got into this lucrative business. Sadly, not even Ocado seem to have a listing facility.

2. Thankfully some of the wine retailers do seem to have caught onto this, so if you’re foodies who love wine, then this might be a good route for you. As one would expect, Berry Bros & Rudd will run a list for you, to which you can add wine, spirits, accessories, wine tastings and even wine courses at their school. For something with more national coverage, then Majestic also offer a wine list service. They have everything from fine wine through to champagne, beers and spirits, so you could really lay down a very interesting, and quaffable cellar.

3. Natoora offers a really wide selection of goodies from Europe, from fresh stuff through to tinned, cheese through to meat and all kinds of veg. They don’t offer a wedding list service but your guests could buy gift certificates that you could have an awful lot of fun spending after the wedding! As an alternative, check out Forman & Field who also do gift vouchers, and there’s a great choice of stuff that you could spend it on.

4. A wedding would seem the perfect opportunity to upgrade your kitchen equipment. I would be really happy to have a list at Divertimenti and would not only load it up with great stuff for the kitchen, but also with classes at the cookery school. If you wanted things for all the house but still really good, not to mention good looking, kitchen stuff, then Heal’s would be another good choice, or you can register a wishlist at Habitat. And, of course, there’s always John Lewis!

 

I'd put it on my list!

 

5. Not on the High Street is one of my favourite sites, and you can register a list with them. There would be fabulous things for the kitchen and dining room, like beautiful cake stands, stylish coffee machines and funky personalised mugs. There are also some interesting food options as well, with everything from an Over Indulgence Hamper (how lovely to come back from honeymoon to this) to organic chocolate, great oils and interesting mustard.

6. I do love my cheese, but yet to find someone with a listing facility. Paxton & Whitfield offer gift vouchers, so I guess you could run your own list and ask for those. You could then spend them as you needed cheese. Or have a look at the Cheese Club from Teddington Cheese (great cheese shop, unlikely location), where you could ask people to buy you one of each theme, which covers selections suitable for St Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Christmas, as well as one for each month of the year. The Fine Cheese Co in Bath also offer something similar, and people could buy you a whole year’s worth of deliveries.

7. You may have also gathered that I have a reasonably big cookbook addiction. Which would have made listing with Amazon a perfect choice for me. It would enable you to explore the far reaches of your food reading and cooking desires. You can explore old and new, rare and not so rare. I guess Amazon is almost like a huge department store now, so you can also list for lots of equipment too. Just don’t forget the books.

So, that’s a few suggestions for a couple who love their food as much as they love each other! Happy listing!

Interesting wedding cupcakes taken by clevercupcakes on Flickr.


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Say cheese! Get your Christmas order in with Pong

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Selected by Neals Yard to reflect some of the best in British Cheese
Cheese, glorious cheese

I love Pong, if only for the name, but also because they have a cracking selection of cheese. And right now you can indulge in a big selection of cheese with a discount, with a buy 3 and get 1 free offer running. I’m very keen to try the Blacksticks Blue, which is a fabulous colour and is apparently milder than Stilton, which would suit me.

I’d order Little Wallop, purely on the name, although it sounds delicious as well. Cider brandy washed, this is complex, nutty and lemony, which is appealing. I’d add in Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, local to us and fabulous. And what the heck, when I’ve got throught this much cheese, then I may as well add in a Vacherin Mont D’Or.

Christmas cheese is looking good!

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Foodie gifts as they should be

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After a couple of days of foodie gifts where taste may not be the absolute first priority, I thought it was time to have a break and write about real foodie treats! Really this was prompted by an email from Natoora, rather than continued loathing over the Blueberry Vodka Glass Slipper!

 

Selected by Neals Yard to reflect some of the best in British Cheese

 

I really like Natoora, I wish there were more online sources like this for great food delivered to where you are. They’re really good at French and Italian stuff that you think you can only get on holiday, but also at the unusual stuff from around the UK, and the really good stuff. I can’t imagine many cheese loving foodies turning down the British Cheese Selection: Colston Basset Stilton (local to me, and darn fine Stilton it is too), Montgomery’s Cheddar, Kirkham’s Lancashire and one I haven’t tried, Tunworth. At a tad under £25, this feels like a lot more food for your money than the Selfridges Xmas pud and brandy butter.

Artichoke is one of those things I tend to order in, and associate with, Italy, and don’t often cook it here. That said, I am quite tempted to keep a jar of the artichoke pate in the cupboard, it could make a very good standby for bruschettas and as a quick pasta sauce. I’d also be tempted by the charcuterie counter, but mainly for Italian stuff you don’t see everywhere, like Speck and Coppa di Parma, not to mention two types of Lardo.

And I’ve always thought it would quite entertaining, not to mention tasty, to buy someone a whole Parma or Bayonne ham. Imagine their faces when they see that one wrapped up! Do you think they’ll guess what it is?

Delivery is pretty good: next day in 2 hour slots within selected London postcodes, 24 hour delivery to the rest of us. Even better, there’s 20% off any order over £50 between now and 31 August with code AUG20OFF, so worth shopping in bulk or clubbing together with like minded foodie friends. Although if you get into investigating their great wine and beer selection that £50 will come up quite easily!

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