From each category of the mainstream bacterial/microbial/fungal actions that make cheese CHEESY, I chose a favourite from what I’d reviewed so far. I assembled them together, and got some folks around to eat them for me, and rate each of them out of ten.

And here, in reverse order, are the best cheeses so far, and how they rated with my tasters.

No 6: Cardo

Cardo’s a washed rind cheese, representing brevibacterium linens, the beast which also makes feet stinky. When cheese smells of socks, it’s the b.linens to blame. Cardo’s perfect when it’s ripe and runny and gloopy and silky, and the Cardo for sale when I was doing my shopping wasn’t liquid enough yet. St James stood in for Cardo; it’s a little stinkier than Cardo, and not as luciously silky, and, while Cardo is made from goat’s milk, St James is a sheepy cheese. What did my tasters think of it?

om nom nom  EEEUUGH it does taste like socks :(

The saltiness of this gets my attention; it’s almost unpleasant.

No 5: Tomme Crayeuse

This cheese is representing the regular bacterial action – the Lactococci, Lactobacilli and Streptococci present in all cheeses. It’s also, with its weird ocher-patched rind, representing the minority fungi of the cheese world.

Lovely and creamy and perfectly suited to my dairylea-lovin’ palate

Tom cruise is a cheese of two halves. intitially dull but the gooey rind shows improvement. when eaten along with a gulp of BEER it could add a few points.

No 4: Persillé de Malzieu

Penicillium roqueforti (and its sibling Penicillium glaucum) are the delicious blue-green moulds that give blue cheese its spicy bite, and spicy, salty Persille de Malzieu has a huge helping of these.

Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom

Shock blue crystals with a mild fizz! the sweetness approaching the rind knocks a few marks off.

No 3: St Tola

St Tola is two cheeses in one; in the centre, it’s fresh lemony goat on the inside, but the outside is covered in a wrinkled rind caused by Geotrichum candidum, which also causes the lucious liquid breakdown underneath the rind, and gives it such a sweet nutty taste.

Amazing fluffy goat of gorgeous. If I was building a house of cheddar bricks this would be the cement.

Love the pillowyness of this.

No 2: L’Etivaz

The holes in swiss cheese are caused by Propionibacterium freudenreichii – a relative of the bacteria that causes acne. Not all swiss cheese develops the holes; I think that the temperature the cheese is kept at during ageing affects this. L’Etivaz isn’t a holey cheese, but it’s still got a rich nutty taste.

Sparkly fizzy vampire spacerock cheese. <3

I’m still tasting it now, lovely lingering complex taste, which initially appears straightforward but is deceptive!

And the winning cheese is….

No 1: Flower Marie

Flower Marie’s like a little mouse, covered in the fuzzy furry mould of Penicillium candidum. Flower Marie’s delicious, soft and oozing under the rind, and chalkier in the middle. Rich and creamy – it’s a sheep’s milk cheese – it tastes of herbs and mushrooms.

Oooh lovely, nom nom

Is like the most awesome brie ever

Nice MOUSEfeel! if it was possible for wine to be buttery and still taste nice I expect it might be like this.

Some quick points;

  • The quick-calculating sharper-eyed amongst you will notice that L’Etivaz and Flower Marie came out a tie. I got a casting vote. My cheese competition, my rules!
  • It’s not really surprising that the more extreme cheeses fared less well; they alienated some folk with their stenchy, prickly, mouldy habits.
  • There’s an unopened packet of marmite cheddar in my fridge. What should I do with it?

Thank you to all tasters, who generously gave up their Saturday night to drink beer and eat alarming cheeses! I’ll start writing up the next 100 cheeses