Cheesy Lover

May 09

Neufchâtel (Cheesy Lover #1)

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Hello! I have a cheesy ambition, and that’s to eat and review every cheese available in Borough Market.  I’ll take requests,  if there’s a cheese that you want to see reviewed.

SPOILER ALERT: I have tried *quite a lot* of these cheeses already, but I’ll try to not give plots away.


Cheese stats: French (from Normandy, actually), soft and unpasturised cow cheese
Bought from: Le Marche du Quartier

We ate this for lunch, on top of some sourdough bread.

It’s shaped like a HEART!  *insert squeaking about cute cheese*  Apart from that, it’s covered in a velvety mould.  This, cheese science fact fans, is penicillium camemberti, and it’s the fungus that does the magic on camembert (hence the name) and brie.

I cut a slice from the cheese, and discovered that inside it’s two cheeses in one. Directly under the fuzzy white rind, there’s a smooth and sticky, slighly translucent yellow layer, while the heart of the cheese is lighter, crumbly and opaque.  I scoff my slice.  It’s tasty!  Very buttery and creamy, but with a good  tangy, acidic aftertaste and a bit of bitterness and plenty of salt.  There’s a hint of mushroominess in the taste, which reminds me of Brie.  I really like the contrast between the crumbly, fluffy core and the sticky layer around it.

Cheese-eating companion manages to keep a straight face while stating that it’s ‘floral, buttery, slightly grassy’.

Cheesy conclusion: This was a very good lunchtime cheese; not too stinky, and not too strong, but with plenty of interesting textures and flavours to keep us entertained.

Jun 09

Epoisses de Bourgogne (Cheesy Lover #2)

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Disclaimer: If I could marry cheese, this is the cheese I would marry.

Stats: French (Burgundy) washed rind cheese.
Bought from: Le Marche du Quartier

Epoisse is a cheese of legend. If you google for it, you’ll find a thousand websites listing it in their TOP 10 EXTREME FOODS, or SMELLIEST CHEESES I HAVE KNOWN. It’s reputed to be banned on French public transport – the durian fruit of the cheese world – although I can only find this fact repeated, not substantiated anywhere.

It’s also one of my favourite cheeses, and this cheese-blogging lark seemed like a as good a reason as any to buy another box of it. We had it after dinner, on some thinly sliced bread, and we had a nice but unexciting red wine with it.


Jun 09

Beenleigh Blue (Cheesy Lover #3)

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Stats: Blue sheep’s milk cheese from Devon
From: Neal’s Yard Dairy

Testing conditions: I had this for lunch, on some seedy spelt bread, alongside a huge bowl of salad.

This cheese is fairly hard and and has a crumbly, slightly waxy texture when I cut into it. It looks pale – almost greenish – and hasn’t all that much veining.

Once in my mouth it’s spicy and peppery (although I have been eating rocket for lunch) and fruity; there’s a taste of raspberries, and maybe a hit of peach. It’s a fairly creamy cheese, and melts surprisingly quickly for something hard and crumbly. It tastes stronger and bluer than the pale and slight veining would indicate, stinging my throat slightly as I swallow it. There’s an almost cheddary tang to the edges of the cheese near the rind – a farmyard-ish bite.

It’s definitely more of a Stilton-ish blue than a gorgonzola-ish one – similar bite and bitterness so my theory is that it uses penicillium roqueforti rather than p. glaucum for the mould. (SCIENCE BIT: There are two sorts of blue cheese mould – roqueforti lives in roquefort and stilton, and glaucum in gorgonzola.) But although this cheese is a blue sheep’s milk one, it’s not anything like roquefort. Not as soft or moist, and not as salty.

I foisted nibbles on some colleagues, and their responses were:

D: ‘A very fine cheese.’
L: ‘whoa is good cheese man, strong taste but in the right direction! Could eat this all day’

Cheesy conclusion: A sensible cheese, this; it tastes strong but is not mentallist in either stench or taste.

Overcurry discussion the other night concluded that I need some sort of randomizing system for choosing my cheese. I am plotting something overcomplicated. Maybe involving DICE. Suggestions welcome!

Jun 09

Torta de Barros (cheesy lover #4)

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Stats: A raw sheep cheese from Spain, made with a thistle rennet.
Bought from: Brindisa
Tasting conditions: I had this for lunch, on wholemeal bread.

This cheese appears hardish, and has a slightly translucent pale yellow rind with spots of green-grey mould. It’s softer and paler inside, sticky and a little paste-like.

My first impression is that it’s surprisingly sour. Slightly pungent, very citrusy and tangy; the tartness almost overwhelms the creamy texture. There’s a bitter herbal, floral aftertaste, which reminds me of thyme – and lots of mouth-tingling flavour.

The rind is sweeter, and crumbly, with musty, mouldy aftertaste. I’m not sure if you’re meant to eat the rind of this cheese, but I like it.

I was slightly taken aback by the sour lemonish-ness of the cheese. The soft and creamy-feeling cheese fooled me into expecting something soft and creamy tasting, too, and I spent the first few mouthfuls being slightly confused. Once my brain caught up with my mouth it was all good.

Cheesy conclusion: This was really interesting cheese! And also the first cheese I’ve ever bought from Brindisa.

Jul 09

Spenwood, Berkswell (Cheesy Lovers #5 & #6)

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My Human Wheel Of Cheese told me to get some hard sheep cheese from Neals Yard Dairy, so off I trotted. They do two different varieties, and so I got a little slice of each for a side-by-side taste test.

Cheese Stats: Both are hard, unpasteurised sheep milk cheeses from the UK.

Testing conditions: Lunchtime office cheese. I ate these on seedy sunflower bread.


Jul 09

U Bel Fiuritu (Cheesy Lover #7)

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Cheese stats: A raw washed rind sheep’s cheese from Corsica.
Bought from: Une Normande à Londres
Tasting conditions: We had a little picnic lunch with this and some fresh baguette.


Jul 09

Saint-Marcellin & La Tur (Cheesy Lovers 8 & 9)

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Cheese stats: A soft raw-milk cow’s cheese from Lyon, France
Bought from:
Une Normande à Londres

This is a small round cheese, packed in its own little clay dish, pale and creamy with a white bloom on the outside. Breaking into it was harder than anticipated – it looks like a cream cheese – and the cheese was firmer and more elastic than anticipated. That said, it’s still a soft cheese – just not as soft and squishy as it looked.

It’s tangier and sharper than expected, too, and far more bitter. There’s a strong herbal taste, and some mouthfuls taste very strongly of rosemary. If I’d been guessing about the beast this cheese was made from, I might have said goat, and not cow, because of the tanginess. It’s also quite salty and creamy, and there are slightly nutty undertones.

Cheesy conclusion: This cheese appears to be a mild-mannered little round bundle of creaminess, when sitting in its pot in the cheese stall, but was surprisingly robust when we ate it. I liked this cheese, but I ate it alongside the U Bel Fiuritu, and that totally stole the show.

La Tur

Cheese stats: A soft cheese made from a blend of goat, sheep and cow milk, from Italy
Bought from: Gastronomica

This is a Three Beast Mashup Cheese, made from milk of cow and goat and sheep. I thought that it might be a bit of a stunt cheese, but it worked really well. It comes in a small round, and is creamy-white in colour. Towards the soft drippy squishy sticky exterior it tastes herbal and slightly rancid, in a good buttery way. Further inside it’s a light, fluffy – almost marshmallowy – cloud of salty creamy goodness, with a good lemonish tang that stops it being too cloyingly sweet or overwhelmingly creamy.

I can definitely detect the influence of goat in the cheese – it’s got a real tanginess – and of sheep in the creaminess. The cow contribution is harder to pin down; possibly it’s working more as a unifying influence for the other two milks.

Bad Vegan chum declares it much tastier than it looks – she was expecting something much milder.

Cheesy conclusion: I wasn’t sure if this would work, but it was both tasty and interesting.

Une Normande à Londres

Aug 09

Mystery shallot-goat cheese & Münster-gerome (Cheesy Lovers 10 & 11)

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Testing conditions: To properly work up an appetite we cycled to Brighton and had a stroll along the pier before catching the train back to London. Both of these cheeses were eaten on sourdough bread and accompanied with red wine.

Mystery raw goats cheese with shallots
Bought from: Une Normande à Londres
Cheesy info Shallot-covered fresh goat cheese.

I can’t find a picture of this, because I mis-noted its name, and that’s a pity – its looks were the best thing about it. Imagine a round of white goats cheese rolled in pretty pink pieces of shallot. It looked delicious, but it wasn’t very interesting at all. The shallots were a bit too sweet, and not shallotish or savoury enough to provide a contrast to the cheese. The cheese itself was soft and fluffy and creamy, but lacked any depth of flavour or complexity. It was, to be fair, a raw (aka green, like the moon!) cheese, and hadn’t had time to develop any very subtle flavours, but I was expecting a brightness and freshness that was also lacking. This also comes in pepper and in oregano-encrusted flavours, but I’m not very bothered about trying them.

Cycling/Cheesing Companion manages to detect a hint of pear, maybe, but is not besotted with this cheese either.

Conclusion: Meh. :(

Bought from: Une Normande à Londres
Cheesy info Brine-washed cheese made from raw cow’s milk

This was much better! Münster-gerome is a pungent washed rind cheese from Alsace. It smells fantastic – and fantastically strong – before I’ve even unwrapped it. It has a pale orange rind, is gooey underneath the rind, and a little firmer in the middle. It’s very pungent and salty on the outside, but creamier and sweeter further in. It tastes intensely savoury and juicy, with hints of mushroom and smoky bacon and plum and a smidge of yeast.

Corruptible Vegan tries a tiny bit, but decides that it taste too much like it’s rotting.

Conclusion: The münster wasn’t quite as stinky as a really ripe Epoisse, but this cheese is no fragrant and delicate petal. It stank out the fridge despite being triple-wrapped. I really liked it! There was a nice balance between the salty ripe outer layer, and the sweet and creamy centre.

Aug 09

Brie de Melun, Persillé de Malzieu (Cheesy Lover 12 & 13)

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Sorry, two unrepentantly good cheeses here; a squishy sweet old brie, and an intensely salty blue.


Aug 09

Bocconcini di Capra, Toma di Capra, Blu di Mucca (Cheesy Lovers 14, 15 & 16)

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Bocconcini di Capra

Soft goat cheese, Italian, from Gastronomica

A very squishy soft little white round of cheese, wrapped in white paper, and small enough that it nestles in my palm. When I cut it, it oozes a creamy white viscous liquid. It tastes sweet and mellow, nutty, milky. There’s very little acidity, and the merest hint of goat. It’s a good cheese, but terribly mild-mannered and well behaved, and not hugely complicated. I like most its texture and milkiness. It’s very soothing; the cup-of-tea-and-nice-sit-down of the cheese world.

Toma di Capra

Hard goats cheese, again Italian and from Gastronomica

This is a round hard cheese, with slight moulding on the the thin orange rind and a slightly translucent cream-coloured paste. The rind of this cheese tastes bitter and slightly mouldy. Inside, there’s a cheddary tang. It’s very acidic, very fruity – cherry, pineapple and oranges – and there’s a sweet nuttyness, almost yeastiness to it. I don’t really like this, although it’s hard to say why. I think it’s just a little too disjointed for me; the sweet/acidic/bitter tastes all seem to clash slightly with each other, rather than pulling together.

Blu di Mucca

Raw blue cow cheese, still Italian and from Gastronomica

There’s a thin dark rind on this cheese, and big pockets of pretty green mould inside – so much mould in the middle that the cheese is almost grey. It’s fairly moist and creamy in texture. It’s got a really nice balance of sweetness and creamyness with salt. My mouth tingles with it; It’s fruity and spicy. Nearer the rind it’s also bright and nutty and creamy – like pistachio ice cream. There’s a hint of smoked mackerel in the aftertaste, I think – this is not unpleasant, but was quite hard to pin down because I don’t expect cheese to taste of fish. I very much like this cheese; it’s a squidgy salty fishy delight.

Interestingly, when I went hunting on the internet for a picture of this cheese, I got some shockingly RUDE results. Mucca is a childish word for cow, but it must also be slang for something else.