View Full Version : The Big Cheese (debate)

Stiff Lil' Fingers
7th Aug 2001, 19:50
Ok, so we've done favourite beer/spirits etc to death and had the infamous Marmite v Vegemite spat, so I think its time for a cheesy change of direction.

What are your personal world champions in the fromage Olympics?


Gold - has to be Stilton (not too ripe though) accompanied by Branston Pickle and digestive biscuits

Silver - French goats cheese (fried)

Bronze - tied for 3rd place - proper Parmesan (Parmigiana Reggiana) and Buffalo Mozzarella

Best loser - good ol' Cheddar - a great all rounder but doesn't quite have the individual flair to make into a medal position.

7th Aug 2001, 20:08
Stiff - in reverse order - as they say.

Bronze a nice Brie, just ripe enough to be soft but not runny. Served with one of the regional breads

Silver Red Leicester or double Gloucester, with apples and fresh warm just baked granary bread and butter

Gold has to be Cheddar, served with a decent ploughman's fresh baked bread, butter, home-made pickles (like my GrandMere made). I used to live near the Cheddar Gorge and properly matured Cheddar cheese is second to none (imho).

Wooden spoon - the bright yellow goo / slices they serve in America purporting to be cheese - processed gunk.

tony draper
7th Aug 2001, 20:13
Draper is a simple soul, a large chunk of chedder a hunk of stottie cake thickly buttered a stick of celery and a little pile of salt on the plate.hmmm good stuff.
ps, For healthy eating ??> always a glass of milk to go with the above for some reason.

[ 07 August 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]

You want it when?
7th Aug 2001, 20:34
Hmm can't let this one go by....

Gold: Strength 6 extra mature farmhouse cheddar, full of flavour and strong enough to remove the back of your throat.

Silver: Stilton, marvellous with piccalilli and of course Port - definitely a top cheese.

Bronze: Emmental - sort of wimpy flavour but really rather nice. With a bit of girly lettuce or the like.

Also rans:
Primula spread - great for a quick snack etc..
Edam - Hey its a funny shape and not to bad a taste

Fell at the first hurdle
Brie / French Runny stuff - If I wanted yoghurt I'd have bl**dy bought yoghurt. :mad:

All washed down with a coarse red wine.

7th Aug 2001, 20:46
Nothin better after a few drinks or maybe a favourite wine than a nice bit of cheese off me old man's knob..... :eek: :D :p

flex won
7th Aug 2001, 21:00
Ah yessss, knobcheese. My own production is far exceeding demand.

My personal preferences are for a less complex taste:

Gold: Stilton. On a warm baguette or plain water biscuits. Always accompanied by port.

Silver: Port Salou. On salted crackers. Great with a red wine below room temp at lunch.

Bronze: Dairylea. Jumpers as goalpost.... Spread on stick of fresh celery drunk with lemonade that makes you burp louder than Concorde on take-off.

[ 07 August 2001: Message edited by: flex won ]

7th Aug 2001, 21:04
Well, nothing like being original, here goes:

3rd place: Cheddar. YWIW - I know what you mean about strength 6, but any decent brands of cheddar will not even conteplate making anything less mature, and so you won't actually find the number anywhere on the packet

2nd place: Brie. As Velvet said, has to be served on some decent, crusty French bread for the full effect.

And the winner is: Emmental. I thought that this, at least, would be original, but then realised, to my dismay, that YWIW had already nominated it. Not sure about the "wimpy taste" bit though - as long as you're paying at least £10/lb (yes, I know, but the metric/imperial thing is a different thread) the taste shouldn't be wimpy at all.


8th Aug 2001, 00:40
As has been mentioned already - Fromunda, :) then it has to be a nice Extra Mature Cheddar.

8th Aug 2001, 01:09
Time for Oz to get a run. Having tried a few of the offerings of the northern hemisphere, both there and here, the products of the great southern land deserve a mention.

Surprise Bay Cheddar, King Island Brie and if you must go north of 40 S try a Gippsland Blue.

8th Aug 2001, 01:22
Back in California there is a chain called "Trader Joe's" that actually specializes in out-of date cheeses. They call them "over ripe", but they've got to get rid of them fast. Good price and taste for the money.

In Latvia, we've also have a good example called Latvian Cheese (Latvijas Siers). A Gawd awful stinky cheese, almost like Limburger, but it tastes great. Just make sure you double wrap it in plastic and then in foil.

8th Aug 2001, 02:08
Gold:- Lancashire.
Must be the real thing not the chalky processed version. used to hate it until I got the authentic version. Serve with home made bread, pickled onions and some real ale at just below room temperature.

Silver:- Stilton

Bronze:- Red Leicester

Best cheeses in the world still can not compare to a good steak though (or a bad steak for that matter)Remember cheese is eaten by carpet munching veggies so it can`t be that good. :)

8th Aug 2001, 04:34
And when in London visit Neal's Yard Dairy. Two hundred British and Irish cheeses.

8th Aug 2001, 09:50
3rd place - Cheddar. Simple, utilitarian, but one of the nicest taste's in the world. Can't beat an English pub garden - pint of bitter, pickles, hunk of bread...heaven.

2nd place - Cambazola. Sort of Germanic brie. It's got more of a kick than brie and doesn't go as gooy.

1st place - Stilton. In all its shapes and forms. M & S do a Stilton steeped in Port around Xmas time. With a nice Fonseca, gorgeous. Especially like the White Stilton with apricots - think this is a North East thing.

Hon mentions - Edam, and those little Portuguese roundels that they give you as an appetiser.

Can I recommend the Fine Cheese Co. in Bath? Heaven.

Stiff Lil' Fingers
8th Aug 2001, 12:16
Going off at a slight tangent re Dairies, I was once listening to a radio show where the subject of the phone in was business names based around a pun on what they did/sold etc.

The absolute best was a dairy called 'Cheeses of Nazareth'. I was painting my ceiling at the time and very nearly fell off my ladder with mirth.

Well that will have upset the JB bible thumpers - ooops!

Colston Basset - now there's a quality (stilton) dairy!

8th Aug 2001, 13:03
Gold - Mature Stilton with Digestive biccies and a nice vintage red port (anyone tried white port? not bad...)

Silver - a chunk of "Tomme de Savoie" from the haute Savoie Alpine region of France with one of the traditional dishes from the area. Its a medium strength cheese, hard crust, smooth underneath.

Bronze - difficult to choose but I'd probably plump for a nice slice of emmental.


8th Aug 2001, 15:37
I'm with No Surrender on this -

Gold - Lancashire (esp. from Neals Yard Dairy, accompanied by a Brogdale apple or two from the same establishent - Brogdale revives ancient, forgotten British fruit varieties that taste sublime - www.brogdale.org.uk)

Silver - Wensleydale (again from NYD)

Bronze - Unpasteurised Brie de Meaux from the estimable French Deli round the corner from me in SW16)

Accompany any of the above with a glass of good English ale or estate-bottled St Emillion, a few friends and a good conversation, and you can't go wrong.

WxJx :p

[ 08 August 2001: Message edited by: WeatherJinx ]

8th Aug 2001, 16:29
What a pretensious bunch we all are... :D :D :D :rolleyes:

Just bogstandard supermarket Mild Cheddar for ever so 'umble swashplate.

Toasted (on toast) with a touch of brown sauce smeared over t'top.

Or on Crackers.

PUKKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D

IMHO, all you wealthy, sneering, stilton-munching, 'whine' sippin' types 'ull be 1st against the wall when the downtrodden 'crumb of cheddar' eatin' masses finally revolt!!!!!!! :eek:

SWASHPLATE.............MAN OF THE PEOPLE...........REVOLUTIONARY CHEESE EATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[ 08 August 2001: Message edited by: swashplate ]

8th Aug 2001, 16:45
A really difficult choice this, but probably

1. St Agur, with a thin rye-based crispbread (second choice Roquefort)

2. Farmhouse Cheshire (very difficult to find nowadays) with digestives and a nice crunchy sweet apply (second choice Wensleydale)

3. Really good quality Gruyere, cut off the block and eaten with my fingers (second choice Emmental)

Absolutely not ever mass-produced cheap sweaty stuff in a sealed plastic wrapper parading as cheese (sorry swashplate, life's too short for mild supermarket cheddar).

Harry Peacock
8th Aug 2001, 17:23
For me ther's a tie for gold..

LANCASHIRE (reminds me of when I was 't lad up near 't mill) with a Thikstons Old Perculiar on a sunny afternoon alongside 't cut.

STILTON on water biscuits with a good claret! (I've yet to find a decent stilton down here never mind a red and don't start me on the cold lager debate!!!!!!!! Oh for a barrel of Spingo) :D :D

Tricky Woo
8th Aug 2001, 18:24
Here is the vote from the Zürich panel:

Bronze: Camembert, 'cos it's got slightly more kick than Brie. Can ONLY be eaten with a fresh french-stick, bottle of cheap country red wine, wearing a beret and singing along to a Charles Aznavour song. Oh, and with a french bird on your knee.

Silver: Wensleydale. But only if you can't find any Cheshire.

Gold: Cheshire, but only if it's the real farmhouse, crumbly disaster area as flogged at the local butchers shop when I was a wee lad. Yum. Burp.


8th Aug 2001, 19:24
Tasting notes for the Stilton connoisseurs: there are two sources of proper Stilton, which are the two villages of Colston Bassett and Cropwell Bishop in Leicestershire. Its surprising how different the two cheeses are and worth enquiring, next time you find yourself in a proper emporium (Neal's Yard, Fortnum & Mason, Harrods Food Hall) etc, which one they stock, if not both.

Can't remember offhand which is which, but one is much creamier in texture than the other.

Also of interest might be Stilton's young cousin, Melton Intrigue. Definite Stilton flavour but in a Dolcelatte-type formula.

[ 08 August 2001: Message edited by: ********* ]

tony draper
8th Aug 2001, 19:34
Cheese an onion sarnie-------I'll get me coat

Stiff Lil' Fingers
8th Aug 2001, 19:38
Pilots Pal - absolutely correct about Colston Bassett and Cropwell Bishop, although they are actually in Nottinghamshire (a stones throw from Leicestershire border)

My mother grew up in Colston Bassett, my Grandfather still lives there and my Grandmother was related to the Head Dairyman. I think my Grandfather actually has 1 share in the Dairy too which entitles him to 1 free cheese a year!

Stiff Lil' Fingers
8th Aug 2001, 19:42
PP - Cropwell Bishop is the creamier & less blue of the 2.

9th Aug 2001, 08:17
For straight to the left ventricle, Blue Castello

Spuds McKenzie
9th Aug 2001, 16:13
And here comes the expert! :D

Gold: Appenzeller

Silver: Raclette

Bronze: Gruyère

Cheddar: :eek:

Per Ardua Ad Asda
12th Aug 2001, 19:49
......Bazouki flavour. Yum! (Only jesting).

Norske Blå is bluddy nice, similar to the ol' Blue Castello, but creamier. This one's a left + right ventricle double-whammy (something like 70% fat!).

Not sure it gets Gold though - that would still have to go to a ver' ripe Stilton, with either oatmeal or suggestive biscuits and a bottle of Shepherd-Neame Spitfire. Maasdam and Leerdammer must get a look-in for Bronze, too.

I know I shall regret asking these, but
1) Is Canadian Beaver Cheese actually available? (Ref: J. Cleese Esq).

2) Why are there 'consume-by' dates on cheese? (It's already 'off' when it goes on sale and thereafter only gets better!).

12th Aug 2001, 20:06

1) No, but a nice Oka cheddar will do fine.

SLF 999
13th Aug 2001, 19:11
For what its worth, being a pleb in all things cheesy :-

3rd - Scottish Cheddar - toasted

2nd - Danish Blue - on oatcakes

1st - Brie (prefer it on the spongy side as opposed to runny), bread (french stick)

Sometime pinch my kids mini babybelle (edam type cheeses), nice for a snack.

Onan the Clumsy
13th Aug 2001, 20:33
Neal's Yard. Is that that place somewhere near Covent Garden that has the water clock outside? I went there a few times, it was like a magical place because it always seemed to be moving and I never could find it if I was actually looking for it.

I've taken a liking to Cabot's Mature Cheddar aged for 24 months and available at www.cabotcheese.com About time I had something mature in my life :p

Hagbard the Amateur
13th Aug 2001, 22:13
Blessed are the cheese makers...

My choice,

Bronze; Spanish Manchego - has to be tasted to be believed.

Silver; Engadiner Bergkäse (Mountain cheese from Switzerland to die for.)

Joint Gold; Lancashire/Cheshire cheese - on toast with Branston underneath.

14th Aug 2001, 05:25
The world of cheese BY JAMIE OLIVER:

If you want fresh excitement in your life, explore the world of proper cheese - not a plastic-wrapped slice in sight. I can cook the best meal I can possibly muster, and then put out three or four cheeses from the lovely Patricia Michelson at La Fromagerie in Highbury, north London - like Cotherstone from county Durham, or a gorgeous creamy Wensleydale, or an Irish Cashel Blue - and people forget all about my food and go mad for them.
What is beautiful about passionate people like Patricia - whether they're running a cheese shop, or a deli, or a fish and chip shop - is the way they take so much trouble to source things and look after them. La Fromagerie isn't really like a shop, it is more like someone's front room where you can walk around and taste the cheese, and buy things like fantastic olives, vinegars and
chocolates as well. "It is all about how you feel about the food,"
Michelson reckons. "When I started the shop I didn't want a serving counter because it felt it was like a barrier between me and the people who come in. It isn't them and us, we are all in it together. You come in to find something nice to eat and I am here to help you."
Sometimes I think we've forgotten what cheese really tastes like when so much comes in plastic wrappers, but the people who come into Michelson's shop haven't. Her customers bring her back cheeses to try from all over the world, or they come in with recipe books and ask her advice. I'm just as bad. I've rung her up a million times when I've been having mates around and said something like, "I'm making fresh tortellini with some onion squash, roasted with a little coriander, and I want to put in some ricotta or something crumbly, or maybe a combination of cheeses, what do you think?" I admit to being extremely boring about cooking cheese - I always stick to pecorino, ricotta and parmesan - but she'll suggest something like a little fresh tangy goat's cheese she has just got in that will set off the sweetness of the squash. I can't wait for her to finish the book she is writing to get some more ideas."Sourcing the cheeses is very important, but you have to know what to do with them once they get here," says Michelson,showing the way downstairs to the maturing rooms, which have a stone floor and wooden shelves. Everything is kept at ambient
temperature to keep the natural flora in the air. When certain raw-milk soft cheeses come in here she reckons they are naked products. Some of them are left to grow little penicillin coats, and others are brought on by her "affineur" Eric Demelle who "finishes"
them, using liqueurs and wines and ciders from the same region as the cheese to "wash" the skin - a bit like seasoning. You get a little alcohol and mix it with a little hot water or occasionally some creme fraiche and rub it into the skin of the cheese, then let it mature. "Because the cheese is alive, the flavour changes from being quite bland to fruity and nutty," says Michelson. "It might be that it is made from milk from sheep that have been grazing on natural alpine pastures, with flowers and grass, and suddenly you taste the herbiness." Most people think about seasons when it comes to fruit and veg, but cheese is seasonal, too, because the milk varies according to what the animals are eating and whether they have young, and there are some cheeses Michelson only has at certain times of the year.
Tony Blair used to get his cheese from La Fromagerie when he lived up this way, and Michelson doesn't pull any punches about her view that the Government doesn't help small local cheesemakers enough with subsidies - "They do in Ireland, which is why there is so much good Irish cheese. We need to help the
younger generation to stay in farming and encourage new people to come in," she says. The issue of unpasteurised cheese is also something she feels strongly about. "If cheese is unpasteurised it has its own immune
system. If it's pasteurised it has no way of zapping the bad bacteria in the air, whereas unpasteurised cheese fights the bad bacteria
and pushes it away, which is why it is so healthy. Problems like listeria happen after the cheese leaves the dairy and are usually
down to poor handling, or the cheese being put next to raw fish or meat in the fridge."
Michelson reckons a Cheddar cheese sandwich is the best thing,made simply from some pukka bread, spread with really good butter - "Light, not heavy like Normandy butter." Now I'm in danger of being beaten up here, but I put it to her that I've got this
friend (yeah, right) who makes Cheddar cheese sandwiches and has kind of got all those things right so far, but then finely slices up pickled onions and puts them in. "Definitely not pickled onions!" says Michelson. "Apples, nuts,pears, dried fruit are fine, but vinegary things are death to cheese.You'll be up all night, saying, 'That bloody cheese', but it's not the cheese, it's the onions." She relents on onions in balsamic vinegar, but tea and coffee are other no-nos - "You should have wine with
cheese, or apple juice if you don't want anything alcoholic."
Next question: how do you keep cheese properly? "Number one is don't serve it too cold. Try to buy it on the day you are going to eat it, rather than keeping it for the week. You wouldn't keep your meat in the fridge for a week. Otherwise clingfilm the cut edges,leaving the rind unwrapped so it can breathe, lay the cheeses side by side in a Tupperware box and put it in the bottom of the fridge.About an hour before you want to serve the cheeses bring them out of the fridge, put them out on a plate or board and cover with a clean tea towel. Soft cheeses, especially with a little natural bloom, shouldn't be wrapped in clingfilm, though, as they will start strangling themselves, and get mushroomy and wet and smell horrible." Michelson's mission is to get more people buying little and often - which is why she is thinking of opening another shop. "It would be lovely for more people to be able to come in," she says, "just for a little piece of cheese for that evening, to serve with some nice bread". And a pickled onion? Mmmm, better not push my luck - I must remember to have a word with my friend. FRESH SQUAQUERONE CHEESE
This is Patricia Michelson's recipe for a traditional Italian home-made cheese, which has been adapted a bit to suit, modern-style pasteurisation. She spoons it on warm baby new potatoes, with some chives, uses it in pasta sauces, or mixes it with polenta and wild mushrooms. Or you could mix the squaquerone with muesli for breakfast, or honey and nuts for a lovely simple dessert.

To make around a pint (600ml) of the cheese you need to put 170g of best-quality cream cheese (from a good deli, rather than the pre-packaged kind) in a bowl with 1tbsp of really good, fresh, cold creme fraiche and work them together until nicely blended.
Then you stir through 2tbsp of fresh cold buttermilk. With a spatula, fold in 3tbsp of untreated fresh and chilled organic yoghurt
and the juice of a squeezed lemon (about 1tbsp) until well mixed. Add a little fine sea salt if necessary. You want the mixture to retain a little lumpiness, so be careful not to put too much pressure into the mixing process. Cover the dish with clingfilm and
refrigerate for at least 24 hours. The taste is creamy and fresh and the flavours develop further the longer you keep it (up to five

the times.co.uk :p

[ 14 August 2001: Message edited by: Rollingthunder ]

14th Aug 2001, 07:20
Flex Won, that knobcheese bit, real good, I mean funny...

IMHO, Gold: Epoisse de Bourgogne
Silver: Epoisse de Bourgogne
Bronze: Oka from Oka, Québec

with honors to: Parmigianna Regianni

but after all I'm only a pilot... :cool:

Don D Cake
14th Aug 2001, 15:56
Blessed the cheesemakers certainly are....

For hot sunny days it has to be Brie (soft but no trace of ammonia) with fresh crusty bread and some salad al fresco

For cold rainy days it's Cheshire/Lancashire /Wenslydale with biscuits and pickles by a coal fire for me and

A cheddar and pickled beetroot sandwich at any time

My wooden spoon goes to ready grated powdery Parmesan - ugh

The Mistress
4th Sep 2001, 17:15

Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 September 2001

The blurb from the sponsors reads thus:

"Last year Stow-on-the-Wold was buzzing with cheese lovers, lured by the thought of hundreds of cheeses concentrated in this small, but picturesque English town. This year Waitrose are the official sponsors of the Festival, which has been extended to a two-day event. Every nook and cranny - from the antique shops to the cafes and pubs - will be bursting with superb British cheeses. Over 85% of them are suitable for vegetarians and those seeking organic options will not be disappointed. Look what's on offer:

700 cheeses on display
198 goat, sheep and buffalo cheeses
125 cheesemakers exhibiting
55 tutored tastings and masterclasses

If you're a serious cheese fanatic, this really is a wonderful opportunity."

For more information visit www.cheeseweb.com (http://www.cheeseweb.com)

You want it when?
4th Sep 2001, 17:48
Onan The Clumsy - You STAR!

Cabbots cheese what a find - $70 worth of cheese and $70 air freight (how unusual).

What splendid throat cutting chees it is. Extra sharp and jalepanos - MMM, MMMM, MMMM.
The extra mild stuff for YWIW junior goes down even faster.

Anyone know of a UK supplier as the Air Freight got me "a bit of a slap" from Mrs YWIW. :D