It’s not just the world renowned stiltons and cheddars we make exceptionally well here in Britain, we’re also a dab-hand at making soft cheese too. We host a collection of buttery soft cheeses to rival everything the continent can throw at us. The following cheeses are just a small selection of some of our nation’s finest.
Known to be Britain’s smelliest cheese, Stinking Bishop has a powerful fruity aroma that gives even the pongiest of French cheeses a run for their money. However, the flavour of Stinking Bishop is actually quite mild carrying fresh fruity notes. The name Stinking Bishop comes from the pear used to make the perry in which the cheese is washed. Work past the powerful smell of this cheese to be greatly rewarded, especially when it is starting to ooze and run across the cheese board.
Made from unpasteurised milk and traditional rennet, Tunworth has won several awards over the years including Supreme Champion at The World Cheese Awards in 2006. Using full fat cow’s milk, Tunworth has a luscious interior with a fluffy white rind. “We wanted to make something that had a really good deep flavour, that’s why we use unpasteurised milk and the specific cultures in the cheese making process,” explains Stacey Hedges of Tunworth Soft Cheese. Tunworth is very similar to a Camembert in appearance, but the similarity ends there; Tunworth has a thicker interior with a distinctly unique and British flavour.
Wigmore is a multi-award winning sheeps milk cheese from Berkshire. It is a traditional hand-made washed curd cheese, which is a method rarely used in the UK, Washing the curds reduces the number of starter bacteria and sugars present in the milk, which leads to a milder acidity in the finished cheese. The milk is thermised rather than pasteurised, to help preserve the milks delicate flavours, which are fresh, clean and slightly sweet. “Sheeps milk is generally higher in solids than cows’ milk,” explains Anne Wigmore, who has been making the cheese for twenty five years, “I think that’s why the sweetness comes through the longer you mature it.”
Rosary goats cheese is an ice white log with no rind, it’s fluffy too, ridiculously so. The cloud-like cheese has a refreshingly clean taste, the milk is left to do all the talking - which it does precise and audibly. Enjoying this cheese is incredibly easy, even for those who have yet to find a goats cheese they like, as it has such a subtle goatiness. Pull it into small pillows and throw into your zesty summer cooking, or pop straight into your mouth.
Perhaps Scotland’s oldest cheese, the recipe for Caboc dates back to the fifteenth century. This soft cows cheese is rolled in pinhead oats, which supplies the slightly nutty taste and adds a welcome contrast to the silky soft cheese. Caboc is as dense and as rich as any cheese can come. It’s made from pasteurised double cream and holds many of the same characteristics as butter. You will rightly assume that a little of this cheese goes a long way.
Other British soft cheese
There are many other magnificent soft cheeses produced here in the UK. The Pont Gar Smoked from Carmarthenshire Cheese Co. has a mushroomy flavour which melds with the subtle smokiness in a rather special way. Dorstone is another proud cheese from Neals Yard Dairy made from unpasteurised goats’ milk and rolled in vegetable ash. Lastly, you might like to take note of Laverstoke Park Farm’s fresh buffalo mozzarella.
Do you have any favourite soft cheeses? Let us know below.
Image by UKinItaly.