6 of the best Suffolk cheeses- and how to make the ultimate cheese board this Christmas
- Credit: Archant
Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a decent platter of cheeses. Here Clare Jackson of Slate in Aldeburgh and Southwold shares her top three varieties for your celebrations.
Cheese making in Britain is thriving, with over 800 named cheeses now being made in this country and it was hard to select just three of them to recommend to you. But here they are. We have included a range of milks, textures and styles to create a very special trio of cheeses which will taste perfect after your turkey and Christmas pudding.
At this year's World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Pitchfork was crowned 'Best British Cheese', coming fourth on the list of 'Super Golds' from over 3,800 cheeses that entered the competition. Pitchfork is a brand new raw milk Cheddar from Somerset, handmade to a traditional recipe by Trethowan's Dairy, best known for their Gorwydd Caerphilly cheese. It is clothbound and matured for 12 months. Pitchfork has a golden colour and succulent texture. Its flavour has savoury tones well balanced by bright acidity and hints of tropical fruit. It has a long lasting tangy finish which pairs beautifully with a slice of fresh crunchy apple or a spoonful of dark chutney. Its name refers to the forks used to toss the curds in salt after milling, before being packed into moulds.
Alongside Pitchfork sits Shropshire Blue from Cropwell Bishop, renowned Stilton makers based in Nottinghamshire. This eye-catching cheese is golden-orange with delicate blue veining. Its orange colour arises from the addition of "annatto", a natural vegetable dye sourced from the seeds of the achiote tree, native to tropical regions of South America. Made according to the Skailes family's traditional Stilton recipe, Shropshire Blue is hand ladled and pierced to activate the growth of blue cultures. It is matured for around five months to develop its rich creamy taste, buttery with a tang of burnt caramel and
a hint of nuttiness.
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To complete your Christmas cheeseboard we have chosen Pavé Cobble, a soft lactic-style cheese made from unpasteurised ewe's milk. With its truncated pyramid shape and ash coating its appearance is reminiscent of the European cobbled streets from which it takes its name. The paste of this fresh sheeps' cheese is bright white in colour and soft and silky in texture. Its flavour is sweet and creamy with a delicate hint of tangy citrus. Pavé Cobble is made by White Lake Cheese at Bagborough Farm in Pylle, Somerset, not far from Glastonbury. Founded in 2004 by Peter Humphries and Roger Longman, White Lake makes a range of award-winning cow, goat and sheep cheeses.
Crown your Christmas cheese feast with some perfect accompaniments. Add texture with crunchy Sourdough Cripsbreads from Peter's Yard or striking Charcoal Wafers from Miller's Damsel. Nuts are always a special finishing touch - try a sprinkling of walnuts or pistachios - and add sweetness with slices of fresh fruit or spoonful of fig chutney.
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6 Suffolk cheeses you have to try
Baron Bigod - Made by the Crickmore's (winners at the Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2019) this luscious bloomy-rinded cheese is made with the rich, creamy milk from their Montbeliarde herd, grazed out on grass pastures in the summer. Earthy, mushroomy and decadent, bring it to room temperature before serving with a drizzle of local honey and some fresh walnuts. They make a limited amount of truffled Baron Bigod too. It's like gold dust so if you find some, buy it!
Shipcord - Made at Rodwell Farm Dairy and matured for five months, this is a lactic, tasty Cheddar-style cheese with a mild but rounded flavour. They also offer a more mature version - lovely with a slice of Suffolk apple.
Hawkston - Another treat from Rodwell Farm Dairy, this cheese could be likened to a Cheshire, being fresh, crumbly and a little citrusy. It's delightful on a cheeseboard and works well with sweet chutneys.
Suffolk Gold - Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses' Guernsey cows produce an almost buttercup yellow, semi-firm cheese with a gently pungent rind and mildly savoury interior. Bring it to room temperature so its nuances can be delivered with full pelt.
Suffolk Blue - Soft, a little sweet but with a bite of blue, there's nothing better than a wedge of this smeared over a digestive with a slice of griddled pear.
St Jude - Made by Julie at Fen Farm, St Jude is a moussy, thin-rinded raw milk soft cheese with a delicate and beautiful taste to savour.