Swallet: a raw soft ewe’s milk cheese from Cumbria, bought from Neal’s Yard Dairy

The swallet has a wrinkled rind, and is a rich cream colour underneath a faint white bloom. Tiny patches of blue-gray mould are scattered across it. Directly under the rind there’s a melted liquid layer. Inside it’s a paler cream – almost white – and very light and fluffy.

It tastes deceptively mild and intensely creamy. It feels like eating rich thick yellow cream with a spoon straight from the tub. (I am a greedy pig and love to eat cream by the spoon.) It’s very full and rounded and mouth-filling, and also light and fluffy, almost moussey. Subtle flavours of fudge, grass, hazelnut and pepper ping about my mouth.

Cardo: a washed rind, raw milk goats cheese from Somerset, also bought Neal’s Yard Dairy

Cardo has a biscuit-coloured wrinkled rind – fairly hard and dry – and a creamy yellow moist paste.

My little slice of cardo is soft and melts out of its rind as soon as I try to cut a piece. In my mouth, it feels like silk; soft and smooth and slightly slippery. And it’s intensely salty, especially eaten after the mellow mild swallet. It tastes of gentle washed rind savoury sockiness, and rich dark plummy fruit flavours. There are undertones of herbs and flowers and nuts, and of goaty tang.

Cheesy continuity:

It’s a Geotrichum candidum moulded rind that gives the swallet its velvety wrinkled appearance and liquid layer – just like St Tola.

Cardo’s so called because it uses the cardoon thistle as rennet, like Torta de Barros.

Conclusion: These two made a fine cheesy double act; the creamy gentle swallet and salty fruity cardo were great contrasts. The cardo is a very gentle washed rind – none of the unfortunate people who share an office with me (and my cheese) were moved to complain about the smell – so not a scary cheese at all. The swallet is absurdly creamy, and has a wonderful soft fluffy texture. I think that the swallet just about wins it, if I’m forced to choose a favourite, but they were both quite delicious.