Grpahic of the Teddington Cheese Wire title
Issue No. 12 - Christmas 2000

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Wishing you a Merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year


Photograph of Christmas cheese selection
Christmas Cheese Selection
Colston Bassett Stilton, Cantal Laguoile, Appleby's Cheshire, a Camembert au Calvados and a Chabichou du Poitou. Minimum weight of cheese 1kg. Including delivery to UK addresses.
Only £25.00
Available as part of the cheese club

Picture of Father Christmas


Cheese focus:
Cantal Laguiole

Cantal and Grain Mustard Sausages

The trading of cheese during the 17th century
The Internet life-line

Christmas and New Year cheese selections
Girolle special offer

- Cheese focus -
Cantal Laguiole
Auvergne, France

Photograph of Cantal cheese

Cantal is probably one of the world's oldest cheeses, discovered and adopted by the Romans. Pronounced by the French as 'Layole', it has been produced in the Auvergne for the last 2,000 years. Laguiole was first made at a monastery in the mountains of Aubrac, an area of particularly rich meadows. The monks taught the methods to local buronniers who made the cheese in their burons (mountain huts). The cheese is made in the same way to this day, and although the huts are primitive, they are perfectly suited to the production of cheese. Laguiole, a small village on the plateau of Aubrac, became the centre of production in the early 1900s.

A heavy, moist cheese, the curds undergo two pressings during production. After the first pressing a thick slice of curd is produced, called the tome. This is matured for 8 hours allowing lactic acid build up. The matured tome is then ground into nut sized pieces. Amongst French cheeses, Cantal is the only one that undergoes this grinding process.

Laguiole gained A.O.C. status in 1961, which was modified in 1986. Once restricted to the region of Aubrac, it can now be made in the three départments, Aveyron, Cantal and Lozère. It is made all year round. Each drum-shaped truckle is 36-42cm in diameter, 35-40cm high and weighs approximately 40kg. It has a fat content of 45%.

An excellent cooking cheese, Cantal Laguiole is particularly suited to potato dishes such as gratins. With a flavour similar to a strong cheddar, it has a more open texture and melts well. It can also be enjoyed on the cheeseboard, possibly with a glass of one of the local red wines such as Côtes d'Auvergne.

Orders for Christmas and
New Year

Christmas and New Year are the busiest times of year for us and we spend many months preparing for this period. We are always keen to receive your orders early so that we can reserve the cheese for you. We sell out of many cheeses in the run up to Christmas since the small farms we deal with cannot produce enough to keep up with the demand. Ordering early will ensure you receive your favourite cheeses.

Once again we have put together cheeseboards for Christmas and New Year for those who do not wish to create their own. In our brochure you will find a further twelve cheeseboards to suit all tastes and pockets. We also have a range of hampers, wine and cheese accessories which make perfect gifts.

Picture of a snowman


Prior to the 17th Century the transport of milk from farms was almost impossible since there were no refrigerated lorries or storage units. Converting the milk into cheeses and butter allowed farmers to reach their local markets. During the 17th Century farmers started to form co-operative movements, bulking the milk from a group of farms together to make larger cheeses ('greate' cheeses) which could be more easily and economically transported further afield.

It was at this time that small buyers known as 'jobbers' started to buy up these 'greate' cheeses at local markets which would then be sent on the larger markets and fairs. At these larger markets, buyers known as 'Factors' would then buy the cheeses which were passed on to cheesemongers. At this time a group known as the London Cheesemongers were the main buyers. They owned 16 ships between London, Chester and Liverpool, with warehouses at each port. By 1764 so much cheese was being sold through this route that the general public were unable to buy good cheese directly at markets, as Factors had bought up all the marketable cheese for the London Cheesemongers.

Factors still have a presence today but the London Cheesemongers no longer exist. Cheesemongers such as ourselves now generally buy directly from small farms, and supermarkets buy from the large creameries.

Cantal and Grain Mustard Sausages

This month's recipe originates from Wales, where leftover scraps of Caerphilly were used to make "Glamorgan Sausages". Our version uses Cantal Laguiole, a tangy, full-flavoured cheese from France's Auvergne region, which French cooks use in much the same way as we would use a farmhouse cheddar (alternatively you can use Llanboidy from Carmarthenshire, Wales). With the addition of wholegrain mustard these make an unusual and tasty snack which is ideal for a light supper or Sunday brunch.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

175g/6oz Cantal Laguiole
250g/9oz fresh white breadcrumbs
150g/5oz fried white breadcrumbs (for coating)
2 finely chopped spring onions
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
pinch of nutmeg
2 eggs, separated
flour for dusting
vegetable oil
salt and pepper


Mix together the cheese, fresh breadcrumbs, spring onions, mustard and herbs. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then add the egg yolk and knead gently to form a soft paste. Chill for half an hour to firm the mixture up a little, then divide into 12 pieces and shape into sausages.

Whisk the egg whites until just frothy. Dust the sausages in the flour, dip them in egg white and then roll them in the dry bread crumbs. Either deep fry in oil for 3 to 4 minutes or, if preferred, pan-fry in oil and a little butter until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a green salad and some homemade tomato sauce.

Fabulous wines to accompany the Christmas and New Year cheese selections

Cotes de Ventoux ~ "Les Traverses".
Paul Jaboulet Ainé 1998
Lovely spicy, peppery aromas with sweet berry and vanilla notes. Balanced depth Rich fruits show on the nose with delicious concentration which follows through.
£6.90 per bottle.

Merlot ~ Tulbagh 1999
The wine is very clean, soft and plummy making this an ideal red for those requiring a wine for easy drinking. £7.05 per bottle.

Vacqueyras ~ Domaine des Amouriers 1998
Deep ruby colour, a big forceful black cherry and Provencal herb scented nose. Ripe medium to full bodied spicy flavours and an attractive smooth rich finish.
£10.30 per bottle.

New Year cheese selection

Photograph of the New Year cheese selection

Elgar Mature, Berkswell, Colston Bassett Shopshire Blue, Garroxta and Epoisses. (Minimum weight of cheese 1kg). Including delivery to UK addresses

Only £25.00
Available as part of the cheese club

Picture showing The Teddington Cheese Home Page


At first glance one would think that being a traditional cheesemonger would have very little connection with the internet. There are two distinct roles of the cheesemonger - the first is the buying of the cheeses from the small farm makers, maturing the cheeses at the right temperature and carefully controlled humidity, the washing, brushing and turning of the cheeses during their development and then finally the tasting and selection of cheeses for sale. This fundamental part of the business has changed little over the last hundred years.

The second role of the cheesemonger however, has changed dramatically, that is the selling of the cheese. Traditionally, before the advent of supermarkets, cheesemongers would have attracted their trade locally and there would have been a cheese seller in every town and market (as there still is in France). Nowadays, with the abundance of supermarkets the local cheesemonger along with the baker, butcher and fishmonger are a dying breed.

Fortunately for The Teddington Cheese, the maturing of cheese is a very skilled art, and the supermarkets with their reliance on sell by, use by, display until and use before dates (although essential when employing less qualified staff), means that they will never be able to produce the finest cheese. Moreover, their reliance on 'stack it high, sell it cheap' practices limits their suppliers to large creameries, whereas small traditional farms are only able to supply a small number of traditional cheesemongers.

Of course, many people have grown to accept the not so special supermarket fare and others only visit the local cheesemonger on special occasions. Although this results in a roaring trade at certain times of the year it isn't enough to sustain a business during the remaining year. In order to compete we have to attract customers from further afield. This in itself also has problems because of traffic, parking and high fuel prices.

In order to help sustain a viable business The Teddington Cheese had to embrace mail-order. Using next-day delivery services, temperature controlled packaging, brochures and advertising we have been able to build up a loyal following. However, for a small business the printing of brochures and advertising are extremely expensive, and although conventional mail-order helps, it does not guarantee a secure future.

With huge media hype, security scares and .com millionaire stories it is difficult to discuss the internet in some circles without raising a 'yawn'. In reality, for the small cheesemonger and other specialists it is providing, in the first instance, a life-line. Secondly, it is providing us with the opportunity to provide products and levels of service which allow us not only to compete, but to thrive. Without it, it would be difficult to survive.

Christmas Special Offer

Girolle and a Tete de Moine
Only £40
(normal price £54.00)

A Girolle is a machine built specially for the Tete de Moine cheese. It pares away the surface of the cheese to produce attractive rosettes of cheese. The spicy, aromatic flavours of the cheese are enjoyed at their most profuse when cut and served in this manner. A superb buy for the Christmas table.

Get a further £5.00 off when you visit our stand at the BBC Good Food Show (which we are sharing with the Swiss Cheese Dairy) at the Birmingham NEC from Wednesday 29th November to Sunday 3rd December.

Photgraph of a Girolle machine

Above: Girolle with Tete de Moine cheese.
Click here to buy one


During the Peasant's Revolt of 1381, anyone who couldn't say 'bread and cheese' without a foreign accent was sentenced to have their head chopped off. These were very troubled and unsophisticated times and although rough and ready, it was this was the best method they had to detect spies.

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