Cheese Wire title graphic
Issue No. 19 - October 2003
  Drawign of a mouse on a cheese wire
Back Issues:
Issue 18

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Inside:


Cheese Focus :
Berkswell
Best Export Cheese 2003

Competition
Weight of Stilton and name that cheese

British Cheese Awards:
The awards explained

Cheese Winners to try

Products:
Wine and Cheese

Cheese Safes

Gift Vouchers

Teddington Cheese Club

Baby Cheddars

Cheese tips:
Taking your cheese on a long journey


Gift Vouchers

Maybe the answer to those awkward gift choosing moments could be solved for ever, the sock drawer given a rest and the cheese larder restored.

Gift vouchers are now available at £5, £10, £20 and £50 which can be used both in the shop or for mail order.

COMPETITION TIME:

The prize this month is a Gladstone Hamper to be delivered anywhere in UK. To enter, all you need to do is to estimate (e-mail us):

1. total weight (in Kg) of Stilton sold last December;

& identify these cheeses from the following descriptions:

2. Similar to Gruyere but used in cooking;

3. A supple, creamy cheese with innumerable irregular holes throughout the paste

4. The cheese grows a white, fluffy coat and looks a little like a small igloo.

5. It is based on the 19th century recipe of Peter Rogers' great grandmother.


Welcome to the latest issue of the Teddington Cheese Wire. We would like to thank everyone who e-mailed us or called into the shop to tell us how much they enjoyed the summer edition. We hope that you will enjoy this edition just as much. Prize for the Competition this issue is to win a Gladstone Hamper which can be delivered anywhere in the UK. To subscribe to the Cheese Wire send us an e-mail asking to be put on the circulation list and we will notify you when the next edition is available (or if you prefer send you a paper copy).

ORDERING CHEESE FOR CHRISTMAS

As customers from previous years will be aware, Christmas is our busiest time of year. We cannot stress enough the importance of placing your orders early. As cheese requires time to mature naturally, customers who have placed early orders with us will have their cheese bought and matured to peak condition, ready for delivery or collection. Although we try to estimate demand as accurately as possible, late orders may miss out on some cheeses which are produced in small quantities, if we donít have them reserved in advance.

This year we have increased our chilled storage capacity to enable us to store and mature more cheese. So the only way to ensure that you get that ultimate yuletide cheeseboard is to get your orders in ASAP!

To place your Christmas order:

The cut off date for 'Design your own Hamper' for UK Christmas delivery is Saturday 13th December at 6pm;

There will be a selection of 'Hampers & Cheeseboards' available from this date until Wednesday 17th December at 6pm;

The cut off date for International Orders in Sunday 15th December at 6pm;

Orders will be sent out for delivery on Tuesday 16th - Friday 19th December and Tuesday 23rd December;

The minimum order for cheese and dry goods is £15 (excluding P&P);

All orders under 9kg (and going to UK mainland) will be charged £5.99 plus VAT.

CHEESE SHORTAGES DURING CHRISTMAS

The majority of farms that we deal with are small and, in the interest of quality, they use only the milk from their own animals. Unfortunately, the farmers are unable to persuade their animals to produce more milk just because it's Christmas. On the contrary, milk yields of sheep and goats fall dramatically in the winter and return to normal after they have had their lambs and kids in the spring.

All our cheese orders were placed with the farms many months ago. Our small Montgomery truckles are ordered and made in February and our baby Stiltons in August. We cannot order more at the last minute since the farms will have no more to sell.

Soft cheeses require particular care. They are matured ready for sale at Christmas and we hope only to have small amount remaining by the end of Christmas Eve. Since we have thirty different soft cheeses we have to estimate the amount we will need of each.

It is inevitable that many of our cheeses are going to sell out and you may not have your favourites on the Christmas table. Please, please can you take the time to place an order as soon as possible. We hate to disappoint.

 


Photograph of baby Montgomery cheddar truckles

Baby Cheddars for Christmas

Montgomery baby cheddar truckles are made for us at Manor Farm in the Spring and are matured ready for the Christmas dinner table. Only a small number are made each year and this Christmas we are reserving these cheeses for individual customers on a first come first served basis. Each cloth bound truckle weighs between 2.5kg and 3kg

Alternatively, why not try a piece cut from our 25kg large truckles. Available all year round.

Photograph of Montgomery cheddar cheese

NEW CHEESE SAFES

We have just found a supplier who has made a limited supply of delightful 'Cheese Safes' in time for Christmas.

They are made with an Oak frame, removable beech shelves, aluminium fly mesh and cost £26.99 (inc VAT). To reserve please see our website. Approx 230x200x180mm.

Photograph of Montgomery cheddar cheese

The British Cheese Awards explained

In just 10 years the number of British cheesemakers has doubled and there are now over four hundred unique British cheeses. We now have more than one cheese for every day of the year made from cow, goat, ewe and even buffalo milk.

10 years ago a new competition was founded - the British Cheese Awards.

Graphic representing the British cheese awards

The objective of the British Cheese Awards is to raise awareness of cheeses made in Great Britain by bringing together the whole of the cheese industry - makers, maturers, retailers, the trade press and now, significantly, the consumer press. The Awards encompass all cheese making from the smallest producer through to large multi-national companies, from specialist cheeses destined for the tastiest cheese board through to grated cheddar used on the frozen ready meal at your local supermarket.

This year there were some 774 entries divided into seventeen categories, for example, 'Cheshire Cheese'. One cheese in each category is chosen as the overall winner. In addition each category is sub-divided into a number of different classes - for example, 'Traditional White Cheshire', 'Traditional Coloured Cheshire', etc. All cheese is examined and the best ones are awarded a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal. This year 226 cheeses received a medal.

Awards are also given for the best Scottish cheese, the best Irish cheese, etc., and from all these winners a Supreme Champion is chosen. The Supreme Champion this year was Organic Cropwell Bishop Stilton and has been a consistent winner since the awards began and this year have deservedly won the Supreme Champion with their new organic Stilton.

We will be trying to get some of the Supreme Cheese in November but as you can guess all cheese shops want a wedge.

However, there were a number of cheeses we stock which won awards and medals this year. These include:

Best Irish Cheese - Durrus
Best English & Best Semi - Soft Cheese - Wigmore
Best New Cheese - Stinking Bishop
Best Export Cheese - Berkswell

Colston Bassett Stilton - Silver Medal (Blue)
Cornish Blue - Silver Medal (Export Blue)

Flower Marie - Silver Medal (Soft White Category)
Celtic Promise & Ardrahan - Silver Medal (Washed rind)
Montgommery's Cheddar - Silver Medal (Cheddar)
Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire - Silver Medal (Lancashire)
Little Derby - Silver Medal (Territorials)
Gorwydd Caerphilly - Silver Medal (Export)
Martells Single Gloucester - Bronze Medal (The Gloucesters)
Greens Organic Cheddar - Bronze Medal (Cheddar)
Gubbeen - Bronze Medal (Washed rind)
Cilowen Organic - Bronze Medal (Modern British Hard)
Cornish Yarg - Bronze Medal (Flavour Added)

Photograph of Smarts Double Gloucester

Cheese focus:
Berkswell

Ramm Hall
Berkswell
, England

The village of Berkswell was named after the Saxon chief, Bercul. He was baptised in the ancient well at the centre of the village, and the village became known as 'Berculs Well'. Over the last thousand years, the name has evolved into 'Berkswell'.The eponymously named cheese is made by a small family run business in the village.

Ram Hall is a sixteenth century farmhouse with very little changed from the original. Steven Fletcher started as a dairy farmer, keeping cattle for milk sales only. In the early 1980s the cattle were slowly replaced with sheep, and it was only through a quirk of fate that his cheesemaking career took off. A local shop which used to sell goat's cheese lost their supplier and asked Stephen if he could make ewe's milk cheese. Never one to shirk a challenge, Stephen set about the task of making a new ewe's milk cheese from scratch. Originally made using a recipe for Caerphilly, Berkswell soon developed a character of its own, more akin to Manchego than the Welsh cheese.

Stephen now has the help of his wife Tessa and the cheese is made 2-3 times a week from the milk of their flock of 350 Frieslands. Berkswell is a hard full fat (45%) unpasteurised sheep's milk cheese made with vegetarian rennet. It is matured for up to eight months and weighs 3-4 kg, measuring 20cm in diameter by 8cm high. Once matured, the rind becomes heavily textured and pitted.

This cheese goes well on the cheeseboard as well as being an excellent cooking cheese, with a more delicate flavour and smooth texture than say a Pecorino. It grates well and is wonderful in potato dishes. It is also a good alternative to cheddar for those suffering from cow's milk allergies.

Port, Wine and Cheese

Some port and wine go hand in hand with cheeses i.e Port & Stilton, Roquefort & Sauternes, Langres & Champagne, Golden Cross & Sancerre. On our website we have researched which range of ports and wines are suitable for the cheeses we stock. Our range can be seen here. Alternatively when you are looking at a certain cheese - click on 'More Information' and this will display more information on the cheese but give you several wines which will suit that particular cheese.

If of course you feel there is a more suitbale wine then please do let us know - via e-mail or phone 020 8977 6868.

HAPPY DRINKING

The Teddington Cheese Club

Have you considered joining The Teddington Cheese Club?
Every month or on special occasions you can receive a selection of cheeses together with notes on their making and history. Over the course of a year you will become acquainted with over 60 cheeses which you may otherwise never experience.

Gift Idea:
Why not make a gift of membership to the Cheese Club. A certificate will be sent to the recipient outlining the cheeses they are to receive and will include a greeting from yourself.

Cost £30 (including postage).

Click here for more details.


- Cheese Tips -
Taking your cheese on a long journey

At the shop we are often asked the best way to take cheese on a long journey, particularly a plane journey. Keep the cheese wrapped in the waxed paper in which we sell it. Never wrap it in cling film or in a plastic bag since this causes the cheese to sweat. Next, loosely over-wrap the cheese in a damp tea towel and place it inside a tupperware box. This will help trap the smell of the cheese. Ensure that the box is only lightly packed. If you are making a long journey include an ice pack in the box but do not allow it to come into direct contact with the cheese. Pack the cheese just before the journey and return it to a cool place as soon as possible after arriving.

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