One of the many reasons I could never go on a diet is because I like cheese too much. On days where there is ‘nothing’ in the fridge, I’m more than happy to eat a hunk of cheese on some bread which has been slathered in butter. Basically what I’m saying is I have a strong affection for cheese! My favourite of all time has to be cheddar – a strong bitey cheddar goes a long way towards making this gal happy!
Davidstow Cheddar must have read my mind and they asked me along for a cheese tasting last week. A three course dinner of cheese? I skipped along to the dining room at Morton’s with glee!
To kick off the night, Mark the Cheese Grader (not cheese grater!) explained the long and loving process that goes into making cheese. My uncle use to be a dairy farmer for a cheese company but I’ve never actually heard or come across a cheese grader before.
The cheese grader’s job is essentially to ensure that the end product is always the same, regardless of whether there has been a lot of rain, the cows have been cold during winter, or they have moved to another spot of grass with different nutrients.
So what’s in a chess graders toolbox? Mark uses a tool called a ‘cheese iron’ to lodge into the centre of the cheese for a test taste. Funnily the cheese iron looks nothing like an iron… more like a cherry pitter! On Mark’s cheese grading check list he looks at:
1. The body of the cheese (firmness and moisture);
2. The texture of the cheese;
3. The flavour level and style.
He does this not once, but three times at 3 months, 10 months and then 16 months of age. Tough job hey?
To start our cheesy dining experience we of course tasted three of Davidstow’s cheddars – the 12month, 18month and 36 month. Talk about creamy! Those Cornwall cows produce some amazing tasting cheese! The older the cheese, the more crumbly the texture and sharper the flavour. I couldn’t decide which was my favourite… 24 month was really nice and tangy but the 18 month literally melted in your mouth.
Naturally, a menu full of crafted cheese, had to be designed by an equally talented chef. Lee Westcott (Head Chef at Typing Room Hotel), pulled together the epitome of a cheese lovers heaven (that’s him on the left!).
The starter was a smoked trout and duck egg tart with 12 month Davidstow Cheddar.
This was followed by spinach stuffed-paccheri, summer truffles and a Davidstow Cheddar cheese sauce. Had I not been sitting at a dinner table of food press and bloggers, I would have licked the sauce off that plate!
You might assume one would naturally get cheese for dessert at a cheese dining night but then this masterpiece arrived… Burrata Pannacotta with gariguette strawberries and cornish clotted cream. As if I needed another reason to buy burrata!
Then something really special happened. The Davidstow team allowed us to share a very special cheddar in their collection that isn’t available for sale. 50 month old cheddar. Yes folks, that’s 4 years and 2 month old cheese that you won’t find down at your local supermarket or cheese room. As expected, it was superb! It almost had a crumbly pecorino taste and texture, but it was still lovely and rich like a true cheddar.
I was exceptionally sad to leave. I could have sat up at that dining room in Morton’s and waited for a breakfast cheese feast in the morning too! Alas, my night of cheese had come to an end but I’ve got a hunk of Davidstow in the fridge that I’m pacing my way through!
My cheese babes – Vanessa from City Freude Blog and Ayushi from The Foodie Diaries
Thank you to Davidstow for having me along to your cheesy evening and for Lee Westcott for your delicious menu (and for being a good sport when I told you the best restaurant in London wasn’t yours – in my defense I haven’t had the pleasure of getting to the Typing Room yet! It’s on my list!).
If you want to try this creamy, Cornwall delight (trust me, you do!), then the list of stockists is here.