Tag: cheese

Our Vintage Christmas – cheese board

If you’re planning ahead for Christmas Day dinner, (in our house Steve is thinking about Christmas dinner anytime from the start of December) then you may be wondering about the varieties of cheese you’ll be buying, where to get it, what to maket and when you’re going to eat it all!

hand made goats cheese and vintage china plateOf course Stilton is a traditional cheese board favourite (lovely with Fudges biscuits for cheese) and whilst we’re very fond of Shropshire Blue from our days in the Welsh Marshes, we also love local goats cheeses – either our own hand-made cheeses made at our cheesemaking course in Exmoor and frozen ready for Christmas or bought locally from Goat-cheese experts Woolsery Cheese.

Fudges bakery black and white photo with first prize certificate

Fudges Bakery 1926

Fudges is a very traditional old Dorset firm dating back to “Great, Great Granddad, Percy Fudge” who founded the business and won prizes for his wonderful baking in 1926. Today, three generations down the line, Steve, Sue and Graham Fudge continue to use quality ingredients locally sourced and to embody the traditional values handed down. This is what we want to hear – hurrah!

Woolsery CheeseWoolsery Cheese is a newer Dorset tradition that we’ve grown to love since they founded in 1992. Their cheeses are handmade using traditional methods using either goats milk or cows milk. No artificial additives or ingredients are used, just natural milk. They are proud that their milk is handled with great care to produce premium quality cheeses.

But without any doubt, where Christmas and cheese is concerned the famous Dorset Blue Vinny is the queen of cheeses. For a really special Christmas starter, I’m not sure whether I prefer the Brocolli and Blue Vinny soup or Vinny Poached Pears? There’s a very handy recipe for Blue Vinny soup on the River Cottage website (yet to try this one – mine is an adapted 1980’s Dairy Cookbook recipe but it sounds very similar).  We had poached Comice pears last year (steeped gently in Somerset rose perry with a little sugar) and topped with an emulsion of Vinny, wine and cream. They are gorgeous (without being quite so filling as the soup and therein leaving a bit more room for the rest of the feast). I haven’t been able to track down the sparkling rose cider this year so I’m still undecided. Let me know if you see any around or send me your own local cheese recipes.

If you’re trying to pair up wines and cheeses then the British Cheese Board’s site I love Cheese has some great tips:

Select the wine to match the style or texture of the cheese

Blue Cheese: Blue cheeses work well with strong, sweet or slightly sweet wines like Sauternes or Port. If you fancy a red, go for Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Fresh Cheese: Like Mozzarella, Montrachet, and Feta these mild cheeses pair really well with most white wines, including Sancerres. Stick with lighter, fruitier reds if you prefer choosing varieties like Beaujolais or Pinot Noir.
Hard or Aged Cheese: Cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan are gorgeous paired with deep red wines. Try Bordeaux, Cabernet, Chianti, Montepulciano and Zinfandel.
Soft-Ripened Cheese: Soft, moist cheeses like Brie, Goats cheeses and Camembert go well with light whites (Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris) but can also work well with fruity reds (Merlot). For the ultimate match use sparkling wines or Champagne  which allow the bubbles to cut right through the creaminess, cleansing the palette for every bite.
Classic Pairings
  • Appenzeller and Riesling
  • Brie and Champagne
  • Feta and Roditis
  • Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano and Lambrusco
  • Stilton and Port (vintage or tawny)


Published by annie, on 8th December 2010 at 9:19 pm. Filled under: Christmas,Vintage Activities,Vintage Food,Vintage Local History Tags: , , , , , , , Comments Off on Our Vintage Christmas – cheese board

Old fashioned cheesemaking

I’ve just finished a packed weekend of goat-keeping and old-fashioned cheesemaking.

Absolutely exhausted, but really good to see that the traditional countryside skills including artisan food-making still exist and are being passed on to new generations. The smallholding I visited was based in Somerset – sadly even though I looked relentlessly for Dorset courses including on www.smallholdingcourses.co.uk I couldn’t find any courses in Dorset that cover the cheesemaking process from herd-to dairy-to fridge. Working with Diana Piercy at the Exmoor Smallholding Centre on a 1:1 bespoke course, we made two batches of soft cheese, a hard goats cheese, covered a wide range of dairying topics and a whole day of goat keeping including hand-milking the happiest and friendliest of goats you could wish to meet! Very hard work and quite a lot to absorb in a single weekend but also really great to lean old skills and keep up traditions.

The Magdalen Project based in Chard and Monkton Wyld Court near Bridport offer smallholding courses including low impact approaches – I think that means “old fashioned” or at least implies traditional – but you’d have to ring them to check!

Gosh! I just unwrapped our little cheesy babies and they’re delicious! Especially gorgeous with our home-made biscuits and this one with basil on our pretty vintage plates. What a great way to celebrate British Cheese Week!

hand made goats cheese and vintage china plate


Published by annie, on 26th September 2010 at 3:29 pm. Filled under: Vintage Activities,Vintage Food Tags: , , , , , , , Comments Off on Old fashioned cheesemaking