“Cheese is beautifully simple and complex at the same time. An oxymoron I know, but true.” ~ Jeremy
Essentially all cheese starts the same way: quality milk, cultures and rennet to separate the curds from the whey (or protein, fat and nutrients from the water) and change the acids to control bacteria. What cultures are used, how the cheesemaker handles the curds and then ages the cheese is what creates our magnificent cheese landscape.
Your doorbell rings and a nice courier person delivers your box of beautifully simple and complex farmhouse cheese. What do you do now?
Your cheese arrives to you in our specialist waxed cheese paper. This allows for the optimal balance of protection and breathability. Remove the cheese from the box and check everything is still nicely wrapped. It may have travelled a long way and, like yourself after a long drive, might need a bit of freshening up. If you have ordered larger wedges of cheese we will supply extra wrapping for rewrapping your cheese.
Where do I keep my cheese?
So where is the best place to keep your cheese? Your veg box in your fridge makes the perfect home. Cosied up to peppers and courgettes, maybe an aubergine or two, your cheese will be happy with the lovely humid microclimate. Although, if a cabbage has been slowly perishing for the past three weeks in the salad box (not that anyone would let this happen!) you may want to find another home for your cheese. The fridge shelf might seem logical but it’s far too dry for your cheese and you may be tempted to put it in a sealed Tupperware box, especially if you have a particularly strong cheese (though try to embrace that fromage funk), but with no air movement this will encourage fine white mould to grow on the cheese or penicillium from other cheese to mingle. This, of course, can be trimmed away and the cheese underneath is perfectly fine, but it’s best to leave the cheese wrapped on a tray or in an open container on a shelf in the fridge if your salad box is full. Lastly, please don’t wrap your cheese in cling film. It doesn’t allow the cheese to breathe and will damage the surface of the cheese. “But when I go to a cheese counter all the cheeses are wrapped in clingfilm,” you say? Truthfully, we shouldn’t be doing that either, but it comes down to a matter of retail. You want to see the cheese on display and the way air flows through our counters the cheese would dry out if we left it uncovered. The difference is we use specialist cling film that can breathe a bit and our cheeses are being removed, cut and rewrapped multiple times in a day. What did we do before the invention of clingfilm? Cheesemongers had far less cheese on offer, very little on display and a lot of waste. The best thing to use is parchment or baking paper if you don’t have cheese paper, or there are bee wax reusable sheets you can buy now.
How long will my cheese last?
Cheese has been made as long as we have had domesticated animals. It’s a preserved product and what’s going on at a molecular level is pretty cool. The cheese ripens with age and will continue to change when cut. We strive to send you cheese at its best point and suggest eating within five days of receiving but, depending on the style of cheese, if kept well it will last a lot longer. As a rule of thumb, harder cheese with less moisture will last a lot longer, while younger creamy cheese is best eaten fresh. With soft mould ripened cheese, sniff out notes of ammonia to tell if the cheese is going off. We don’t recommend freezing cheese as it greatly changes the quality. If you have purchased a whole truckle it’s fine to keep it somewhere cool, and if that is not available then keep in the fridge.
How do I serve my cheese?
Cold temperatures inhibit the flavour of cheese, so ideally we want to serve it at room temperature. Open your cheese and check to see it’s in good condition. There should not be any issues if you have kept it happy but if a little white mould is present, just trim off. If you don’t plan on eating the whole piece then cut what you need and rewrap. Let your cheese come to room temperature for at least an hour before serving. Have any leftovers? As long as it’s not left out all night it will be fine but its shelf life will be shorted. We have lots of great ideas and recipes to use up your bits of cheese.
Have fun pairing your cheese with different accompaniments and beverages and exploring the wonderful world of British cheese.