Sunday, January 10, 2010

Neal's Yard Dairy - Cheese Heaven

There must be people who don’t like cheese. People who would find the idea of visiting a shop where the counter and shelves are piled high with rounds of cheese unexciting, even unpleasant. Such people do not swoon at the rich and pungent aroma, do not beg to be given even the tiniest taste. They are to be pitied.
If you are ever in London and need to visit a little bit of cheese heaven you must make a pilgrimage to Neal’s Yard Dairy.

Here you are not only welcome to browse but encouraged to sample and talk about their cheeses – from something like 70 cheese makers in Britain and Ireland and from Italy and France, made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats and buffalo – the choice is overwhelming. And the staff are unfailingly friendly and knowledgeable.

My favourite was the Stitchelton
a gorgeous soft, buttery blue with a rich complex flavour, produced on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire using organic, unpasteurised cows milk.  It was divine especially teamed with the most fabulous Eccles cakes I have ever eaten which we also bought at Neal's Yard.

If you don’t know about Eccles cakes – rich currant filling wrapped in flaky/puff pastry and dusted with sugar -you should try them. Named after the town of Eccles (now part of Greater Manchester) where they originated, there is a good, authentic recipe at The Cook and the Chef.

Now that we are back home my latest favourite cheese is a simple guy called Tom from Bruny Island - available at the Eveleigh Carriage Works markets in Sydney.

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