Cheese of the month December 2014: Montgomery’s Cheddar, North Cadbury/Somerset, UK

This a monthly series which I have been publishing for years. You can subscribe here, to get the latest cheese delivered directly on to your screen.

Without much ado: December’s cheese of the month is Montgomery’s Cheddar. True, Heinzelcheese right now is pretty much focussed on Cheddar. But hey – what’s wrong with that? If you insist on an explanation, it may be due to the first real taste of winter the cold easterly wind is spreading, which makes me long for a dense cheese with lots of glorious butter-iness (but not a hint of greasiness!). A cheese that nourishes instead of just weightlessly teasing the tastebuds like a lactic goat.

Foto 3A cheese which you can store away in big chunks for hibernal emergencies such as waking up to many inches of snow (and therefore not wanting to go out anywhere for supplies). A cheese that loves all the wonderful holiday treats, from Christmas pudding to fruitcake and gives you a great excuse to open a “heavy” wine such as amontillado or oloroso sherry. So – Cheddar it is. With a capital C! Now, to be absolutely, totally honest with you (I always at least try, promised) – it could have been Keen’s, Hafod, Isle of Mull, Mary Quicke’s Vintage… I adore all of them. But the last piece of Montgomery’s I had from Neal’s Yard Dairy at Borough Market (once and for all, in case you’re wondering: I do not get paid for mentioning those folks whenever it’s about British cheeses – they just are, the. best.), and which I was very happy to share with some of you at the last HeinzelCheeseTalk, that cheese had such an extraordinary, amazing elegance…

At 17 months old it showed an aroma reminding us all of lemon zest in a beautiful way, something I at least so far had rarely encountered in any Cheddar. It was rich, but the very opposite of greasy and yet not dry at all. For the total aficionados amongst you: raw milk, yes, animal rennet, yes, from North Cadbury in Somerset, yes again. And you’re right, the piece pictured above is not the one I had from Neal’s Yard (that disappeared too quickly to even take a picture) but one I bought at Knippenberg’s her in Berlin – all cheesemongers have their own style and tend to select very differently).

IMG_1771The Montgomery family has been making cheese since three generations, and Jamie has been instrumental to get real British cheese in general back on track. You can read more about Cheddar here, and if you’re a total cheese buff (and have some German), you might want to get the latest Effilee magazine with my report on the Science of Artisan Cheese conference that Jamie Montgomery hosted (in great style) this summer. I wish you all a joyous Advent and always enough Cheddar tucked away in a cool corner.

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