Cheese is my favourite food genre. I have it on good authority that heaven will be made of cheese: a golden olfactory party with mouse kings and moulds like sapphires.
It came as a great delight, therefore, when I was invited to try the famous range of cheeses produced by Alex James, the bassist from Blur who skipped merrily off to the Cotswolds to live the dairy dream. I arrived home from work to find an enticing package of four cheeses in the porch, and proceeded to eat them all without shame:
No.1 – Little Wallop Goat Cheese
No.2 – Farleigh Wallop Goat Cheese
No.5 – Goddess
No.7 – Blue Monday
I love Blur and I love Alex James. He reminds me of Brian Cox (without the face of a child) and judging by those stories about his champagne-fuelled groupie days, I just think he sounds like a fun guy to be around..
I’m going to state now that the cheeses I ate were delicious and divine, but they’re not for the faint of heart. If you’re the type who eats Tesco Value Extra Mild ‘Cheddar’, this blog post is of no use to you and I suggest you seriously think about broadening your culinary horizons.
This one won Best Soft Cheese at the British Cheese Awards, and for good reason. It’s a goat cheese washed in Somerset cider brandy and then wrapped in vine leaves to keep the flavour in. I found it to be a rich, yeasty forest of flavours, with a sensationally smooth centre and a citrusy, crumbly mould.
OK. If you can sort of imagine eating soil that tastes delicious and has the consistency of goat cheese, that is what this is. There really is no better word to describe it than ‘earthy’, and this is because the mould is flecked with sprigs of thyme with a mushroomy tang. The creaminess inside contrasts beautifully, giving this is a delicate and interesting taste.
Easily my favourite cheese of the party. With a pink exterior and golden creamy middle, this is my ideal indulgence. It’s buttery and sweet, and you can smell it from about three miles away. I swear it smells of the countryside. I hereby give this the Tiffany award (very prestigious).
This is a lovely cheese if you’re not so fond of the outrageously pungent blues like Roquefort or Saint Agur. I think it tastes cheddary, much like a Shropshire Blue, and it’s smooth without being too mild. It’s also named after a New Order song, which makes it extra enjoyable.
Thanks to Pong Cheese for feeding me so well, and thanks to Alex James for being fabulous. You can buy any of the ‘Alex James Presents’ cheeses on the Pong website here!