A View from the Fridge
Today’s post is prompted by the fact that we have a particularly well-stocked fridge at the moment: over 80 different cheeses! Of course, breadth of choice isn’t everything, and many excellent cheese shops typically stock 30 or 40 at any one time. But those tend to be in big cities, and if you can’t find what you want in one Stockbridge cheesemonger, there are two or three more to check out just down the road. many other shops sell cheese in Orkney, but I think it would be fair to say that it’s not such a BIG THING with them, not their raison d’etre like it is for us. So we try very hard to have - well, not every cheese in Europe, that would be thousands - but every cheese we get asked to find, and good examples from all the main cheese-producing areas.
Having many choices would be irrelevant if the quality wasn’t up to scratch. Funnily enough, maintaining a wide range actually makes it easier for us to ensure all the cheeses are in perfect condition: because we order so frequently from various suppliers, we have deliveries comin in two or three times a week, so nothing is ever hanging around for very long, and is always approach, or just at, peak ripeness.
Frequent deliveries also mean that, if we don’t have what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance we can get it within a week. or so - just ask!
We’re often asked, where do we get all our cheese from? Do we drive all over Europe in our little red van, picking up Brie and Manchego from rosy-cheeked farmers’ wives all across the continent? Sadly not! But the people we buy from do exactly that… The secret to a well-stocked cheese fridge is forming relationships with expert importers and specialist affineurs (cheese-maturers). Having been in this game for some years now (160 to be exact) we work closely with a couple of excellent general cheese suppliers, a Scottish specialist, two or three French experts, a couple of Italian importers and another from Spain. (And of course we buy local cheese direct from the makers.)
There’s a whole world of cheese out there, and we are always learning: tasting, trying, buying for a week or two to see what our customers think… It is an endlessly fascinating topic, and an endlessly delicious one!
SOME OLD FAVOURITES, ALWAYS IN THE FRIDGE
Godminster Organic Cheddar (England)
Cornish Yarg (England)
Loch Arthur Cheddar (Scotland)
Papillon Organic Roquefort (France)
Gorgonzola Dolce (Italy)
NEWCOMERS - IF YOU LIKE THEM WE’LL KEEP GETTING THEM!
Le Trou du Cru (France)
Paddy’s Milestone (Scotland)
Tunworth Soft Cheese (England)
Madame Buffalo (Italy)
And a reward for reading this far! The first person to post a comment on this post wins £10 of free cheese - anything you like from our overflowing fridge. Yes, really!