I really love cheese. It’s definitely up there on my ‘list of foods I couldn’t live without’, although I have a terrible habit of buying the same old selection from the supermarket. Cheddar, Wensleydale and Cranberries, Camembert, Emmental, Mozzerella, and Stilton with Apricot are probably the most commonly occurring cheeses in our household, so I thought it was time for a change.
Wanting to step out into a new world of cheese exploration and try some cheeses I’d never heard of, or wouldn’t have thought to pick up myself, the Cheese Society provided the perfect solution; a monthly cheese subscription. Each month 5 new cheeses, perfectly packaged and sent to you in the post allowing you to expand your cheese-eating horizons.
This wonderful selection of five unique, artisan cheeses weighing around 1kg in total, is the perfect gift for the cheese-lover in your life, or if you’re looking to try out some new flavours. The selection of cheeses are specifically chosen to compliment one another in strength, flavour and style and include both traditional favourites alongside new discoveries.
I spoke to Kate who started The Cheese Society in 1997 after selling a delicatessen business that she had for 10 years:
What inspired you to start The Cheese Society?
I really enjoyed the cheese element of the business and decided with the inception of the internet that it would be a good time to start a mail order business. The business, which is based in the Cathedral Quarter in Lincoln, has evolved over the years, moving premises and expanding. We now have a very smart cheese shop with a small cheese café in the building and we have seen our mail order business increases year on year. Lucie [Kate’s daughter] has entered the business in April of this year, bringing with her a strong design background, which she is applying to the new website which should be up and running in the next few weeks. Working together is great, lovely to fire ideas off one another and Lucie is very keen to learn as much about cheese as possible.
What is your favourite cheese?
We both love cheese so my favourite is usually the last one I tasted, which today was Chevington, a Northumberland cheese made with Jersey milk, and last week it was a delicious Ossau Irarty, a smooth ewes milk cheese from the Pyrenees in France.
What’s your most popular recipe?
The most popular dish on our cheese café menu is our double baked cheese soufflé which is served in a rich cream & Parmesan sauce. You can get the recipe here.
So, onto the monthly cheese subscription. Last week, I was sent the October 2016 monthly subscription, which arrived swiftly and easily to the door. The 5 cheeses this month included Blackstick Blue, Jerseyhoeve Aged, Pave Cobble, Serramunt Blanc D’Oli Brie and Thelma’s Original – none of which I’d tried before, so I was super excited to crack them open.
Inside the box, the cheeses are individually wrapped and presented with information about each cheese and tips for storage, complimentary accompaniments and tasting notes. We initially tried each cheese on it’s own before pairing up with crackers, chutney, fruit, nuts and honey to compliment and draw out the flavours of the cheese.
Here’s a quick rundown on our thoughts:
Blackstick Blue -This creamy blue cheese, from an award winning dairy in Lancashire, is orange in colour with distinctive blue veins. Okay so admittedly neither Pete or I really like blue cheese, but we tasted it anyway – finding it less offensive and a lot creamier than blue cheeses we’d tried previously! Our friends Ben and Tim on the other hand loved it and said it was definitely up there on their list of favourites!
Jerseyhoeve Aged – Recently named ‘Best Cheese in the World’ at an International cheese awards, proved to be my firm favourite. The Jerseyhoeve aged is a handmade, organic Gouda from Goeree-Overflakkee in the Netherlands. Perfectly complimenting a bottle of Merlot we’d brought back from France, the Gouda will definitely be crossing my plate again – I can see why it won the vote.
Pave Cobble – Once I got past the odd exterior of this cheese (due to the charcoal coating), I cut in to find a soft, light, creamy ewe’s cheese, that on initial tasting was sweet and creamy with hints of citrus. The aftertaste is defined by an increased complexity of flavour diving the cheese an extra layer of depth. The first ewe’s cheese I had tried, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Serramunt Blanc D’Oli Brie – I love a brie and this was a step above my normal selection. Made in Igualada in Catalunya, Spain, this brie was delicate and delicious, described in the tasting notes as ‘blooming’. We found it worked really well with flavours of caramelised nuts (we had almonds), figs and honey.
Thelma’s Original – Named after Thelma who started her family business in 1987 in Caws Cenarth Dairy in Wales, this cheese was fresh, flavoursome and a noted staple to add to future cheeseboards.
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to try out new cheeses I’d perhaps have never of thought to pick up myself. The monthly subscription is a great idea and there are lots of subscription options available. Check out The Cheese Society website for more info.
Look out for another post later in the week discussing what goes into producing the perfect (Pinterest-worthy) autumn cheeseboard, featuring cheese from the Cheese Society!