If you've bought a whole Stilton cheese for Christmas, or been lucky enough to receive one as a gift, then you'll probably have wondered what the best way to serve and store this most prestigious of festive treats.
Happily, one of the Interactive Extras in the iPad/iPhone edition of Issue 4, featuring our friend Ann-Marie Dyas of The Fine Cheese Co. answered that very same question! So here's Ann-Marie's video, which is followed by the world class cheesemonger's five festive favourites!
Wigmore: The most refined and subtle of ewes’ milk cheeses made on the Duke of Wellington’s Estate in Berkshire by Anne and Andy Wigmore. I am always seduced by its delicacy. I prefer to eat it alone or with figs or pear – but with no other cheese, so I can, concentrate on its creamy perfection.
Colston Bassett Stilton: The gold standard for Stilton. The gentle hand-ladling of the curds is the key to its superiority. I have loved this maker above all others for the last 25 years – a testament to its consistency and quality. When sold at perfect ripeness it is rich, creamy and intense – everything a great Stilton should be.
Von Mühlenen Premier Cru Gruyère: This takes Gruyère out of the kitchen and puts it it firmly on the cheeseboard. Most Gruyères you can buy are around 6 months old, this is 14 months old and as a result it packs a punch. Although it still retains the sweet -creaminess that is characteristic of the cheese, the flavour is deep and grows more powerful in your mouth. It has been voted world champion cheese no less than three times so I am not alone in thinking it’s a complete knockout.
Brie de Meaux Dongé: If you are buying brie make sure it is ‘de Meaux’ that guarantees that it will be unpasteurised and with a depth of flavour absent from a pasteurised version. The Dongé family make the Brie de Meaux of my dreams. They have won the coveted Medaille D’Or nine times for this cheese. Full-flavoured, with a Camembert-like fruitiness, this Brie ‘rocks’.
Ragstone: Charlie Westhead, who's based in Hereford, has been making the most delightful goats’ milk cheeses for as long as I have been a cheesemonger. His cheese is always delicate and not overtly ‘goaty’. Ragstone log is ripened so it becomes mellow and creamy as it ages, whilst retaining its’ ice cream – like’ middle. Sliced medallions of Ragstone are especially delicious grilled with a salad.
All of the above cheeses are available via mail order from The Fine Cheese Co.
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