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Issue No. 13 - February/March 2001

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Welcome to the 13th edition of The Teddington Cheese Wire. Now that we have fully recovered from the hectic Christmas and New Year season, we would like to thank those customers who placed their orders early. We are now preparing for the busy Easter period, and we thought it an appropriate time to produce our guide to catering for parties. There is also a chance to win a prize with our crossword competition.

Obviously the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease has affected farming at all levels, and our hearts go out to all of those stuck in the middle of it. At the moment our suppliers are still releasing their cheese, although all collections are now made at a distance from the farms with the added precaution of disinfecting the vehicles. The outbreak has meant however that we have had to suspend our worldwide delivery service until further notice.

We were all saddened by the news of the death of James Aldridge earlier this year. He was widely regarded as one of the strongest influences in the resurgence of 'real' cheese over the last two decades. His presence in the specialist cheese world will be greatly missed.

Did you see us on the television? Some of the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed our brief appearance on 'BBC Webwise', where our web site was featured as an example of a thriving Internet business. Thank you to those who spotted us and sent your kind comments.


Did you know? - Chalk and cheese
Customer feedback

Cheese Focus:


Tools of the Trade:
The Cheese Vat

Cheese Crossword

Cheese Tips:
Catering for parties
Reusing your
mail-order cheese packaging

Customer feedback

This is a new feature of 'The Teddington Cheese Wire'. We receive many e-mails from customers giving feedback on the cheese. As well as finding out what our customers want, we also discover new ideas and facts. In this edition, some of the comments are published. If you have any ideas or feedback on anything that may be covered by The Teddington Cheese Wire please feel free to drop us an e-mail.

Comment of the month

"You might be amused to know that with all the strictures in the UK over what pregnant women should eat, a move to France for the 9 months in question might make life easier. We visited the Spa hotel at Evian, which has 100 years of treating people under its belt. There the nutritionist I saw told me to increase my egg consumption by whisking an egg into pasta sauces, and to increase my protein consumption by eating some at each meal. The hotel had a magnificent cheeseboard of many cheeses, and I enjoyed nearly all of them in the course of a week. Many were undoubtedly unpasteurised. I read somewhere that the only cases of listeria were from pasteurized cheeses. Maybe one day the European Union will get its recommendations for pregnant women sorted out (they thought even gentle tennis was a bad idea while I was being encouraged to be as active as possible at home), but I suppose until then, good sense will have to prevail."

....... J.M. via e-mail

- Cheese Tips -
Reusing your
mail-order cheese packaging

As regular customers know, we send all of our deliveries out in polystyrene boxes. With recycling in mind, most people are reluctant to throw them away, and over the years we have received a few suggestions on what to do with them.

1. If you have a greenhouse, why not make a few holes in the bottom of the polystyrene box, fill it with compost and use it for growing seedlings.

2. Place the boxes in the boot of your car, and you have a ready made coolbox for your shopping.


'Chalk & cheese'

This curious phrase actually derives from farming practices in Wiltshire. The chalk grasslands in and around Salisbury plain were farmed for mutton and wool, whereas dairy farmers who produced local cheeses used the lush green pastures of the North West. At Salisbury market, the two groups would meet, but the quiet plains farmers never mixed with the lively outgoing cow farmers. They were like chalk and cheese!

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- Recipe -


This recipe was only recently introduced by the makers of Reblochon who needed to boost sales in the winter months. Although its origins were not exactly traditional, the result is fabulous, and has proven an instant hit in the Alps.


- 1 kg cooking potatoes, sliced into thin pieces.

- 1 Reblochon (about 550g), with rind removed.

- Salt and pepper to taste.

- Garlic and chives

- 200 ml Crème fraîche


1. Alternately layer potatoes and cheese together with the herbs and spices.

2. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at gas mark 6 (200c)

3. Add crème fraîche.

4. Return to oven for a further 10 minutes.

5. Serve hot, with cold meat accompaniments and crusty bread.




- Cheese focus -

Savoie, France

Reblochon derives from the word 'reblocher' which when literally translated means 'to pinch a cow's udder again'. Although graphic, this refers to the practice of holding back some of the milk from the first milking. During the 14th century, the landowners would tax the mountain farmers according to the amount of milk their herds produced. The farmers would therefore not fully milk the cows until after the landowner had measured the yield. The milk that remains is much richer, and was traditionally used by the dairymaids to make their own cheese. The Chartreux monks would bless the houses of the mountain peasants in return for these "cheeses of devotion".

Reblochon is traditionally made from the milk of three breeds of cattle, the Abondance, Montbéliarde and the Tarine. It was decreed as an A.O.C. cheese in 1958 and is therefore subject to certain regulations to ensure the preservation of its name, quality and status. This includes renneting within 24 hours of the last milking and bringing the milk to the place of production as soon as possible after milking.

The flavour of Reblochon is delicate and subtle. It is a very fresh tasting cheese and the smell also reflects this. The paste is smooth and ivory coloured, with a supple texture. The natural rind varies from yellow to orange and usually has a light covering of white mould.

Each cheese is 9-14 cm in diameter, 3-3.5 cm high, weighs 240 - 550g and has a fat content of 45%. Affinage (maturation) takes only 2-4 weeks. Although it can be made on an industrial scale as indicated by a red label, ours is a fermier cheese, denoted by the green casein label on the rind. This means that the whole production is carried out on one farm and milk from neighbouring farms is not allowed. Each Reblochon comes sandwiched between two wafer thin wooden discs.

Reblochon is excellent on the cheeseboard, perhaps with a glass of Savoie wine, or can be enjoyed when melted on baked potatoes. It was made famous by the recently invented Tartiflette (see recipe).

- Cheese Tips -
Catering for parties

When organizing an event such as a cheese and wine evening or a dinner party, it is always difficult to judge amounts as well as providing a balanced cheeseboard. At The Teddington Cheese we have come up with a few simple tips to help you choose the perfect selection for your event.

Amounts needed will obviously vary depending on the event, but as a general rule of thumb we suggest the following:

For events where cheese is the main feature, such as a cheese and wine evening, we would recommend 4- 6oz or 100-150g per cheese eater. For events such as dinner parties where cheese is one course of the meal, reduce the quantities to 2-4oz or 50-100g.

Each piece of cheese should be large enough to look the part on a cheeseboard. Avoid the temptation to have lots of varieties of cheese. Smaller pieces can look lost when presented on a cheeseboard. Through experience we have found that the optimum number of cheeses is 5. Try to adjust the amount per cheese rather than the number of cheeses, and where possible aim for at least 200g per cheese. Of course some individual cheeses are smaller than this, but make an equally attractive addition to the selection.

When choosing the types of cheese, try to aim for a balanced selection. Maybe choose variety of colours e.g. blue veined and orange, and/or a variety of milk types such as cow, goat and ewe. Remember to take into account different people's needs, such as hard pasteurized cheeses for those who are pregnant, or milder ones for children.

When presenting the cheese, remember to allow a good couple of hours for it to reach room temperature, and most of all, enjoy it!

Don't forget Mother!

As an alternative to flowers or chocolates for Mother's day, why not send her a carefully chosen selection of cheese.

Mother bird
1st April 2001

Available as part of the cheese club

cheese image

- Competition -
Cheese Crossword

Test your knowledge of cheese with our crossword. Print out the crossword, answer the clues and post it to: Crossword Competition, The Teddington Cheese, 42 Station Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 9AA. Alternatively, you can e-mail your answers to . For security reasons, please do not use attachments.

A draw of the winning entries will be made on St.George's Day, 23rd April. The winner will receive a 19 across, a 21 across, 200g of 16 down, 200g of 8 down and 200g of 12 down. Prize includes delivery to UK addresses only. (Entries will be accepted from all countries but, because of the delivery restrictions, you will need to make a gift of the prize to a friend or relative in the UK).

2. Precise geographical origin of Brie (3,2,6)
6. See 27 across - extra matured (14)
9. British sheep's cheese - Grommit! (11)
14. Early Summer month (3)
15. Region of France famous for its washed-rind cheese (6)
17. ___ y Bont - sadly no longer made (3)
18. This plays a key role in the Emmental-making process
20. Camembert has a ___ content of 45% (3)
22. These coat the surface of Caboc (4)
24. _______ Cross. English goat's cheese (6)
27. Hard Swiss cheese (7)
29. What one might associate with Cotherstone (3)
30. A square camembert-like cheese from Normandy (4, 7)



1. A soft, creamy sheep's cheese (7)
3. Female sheep (3)
4. Italian word meaning strong (5)
5. The initials of the maker of Lancashire (2)
7. Unusual Welsh cheddar with mustard seeds (6)
8. Put his name to Yarg (4)

10. A preservative, now used to alter the flavour of cheese (5)

11. An example of these is annato (4)
12. A cheese with walnut-sized holes (8)
13. What one may intend to do with cheese (3)
16. French term meaning 'refine the taste' - maturation (8)
17. Cheese named after mountain range in Northern Spain (
19. Napoleon tasted this cheese and approved (9)

21. ___ Amsterdam, a Gouda (3)
23. _____ de Moine. Used on a Girolle machine.
25. The form many cheeses take, especially goat's such as St. Maure (3)
26. Not Mr. Winton! Where livestock often graze (4)
28. ___ De Cave. An ingeniously designed candle for the cheese and wine cellar. (3)

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- Tools of the Trade -

The vat is possibly the most important and expensive piece of equipment for the small-scale cheese maker. This is where the rennet and starter are added to the milk to initiate coagulation of the curds. The vat is also where the curds are cut and the whey is drained off. For cheddar-type cheeses the vat is used for the process known as 'cheddaring'.

Vats today are generally made from stainless steel and have a 'jacket' or hollow outer skin. Steam passes through the jacket to uniformly heat the vat. This enables the cheese-maker to closely control the temperature for the milk, which is essential to ensure consistent quality of the cheese. For some cheeses (such as Emmental and Gruyere), the vat is used to heat the curds while in the whey. This 'cooking' gives this type of cheese its unique character.

All vats have a tap at the base. This allows the whey to drain off, leaving the curds. The cheese maker will usually push the curds to the side of the vat to allow the whey to escape through a hole in the middle. The hole usually has a filter to keep the curds in the vat.


Old fashioned vat

Above: Old fashioned vats were simply 'tubs'

Lifting the curds

Above: lifting the cut curds out of the vat

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