Friday, 9 October 2015

Blessed be the cheesemakers…

Look out, I don’t want to raise a stink but I’m going to go all cheesy on you, moldy cheesy to be exact. Today is an important day. Today is the day that the world celebrates all cheeses that are made intentionally with mold. You know the ones, the tasty ones that get their distinct character and taste from being a little rotten like me. Yes, it’s that mold that makes all the difference.

There are different kinds of mold in cheese, Penicillumroqueforti or Penicillum glaucum are what causes that lovely bluish-green hue in blue cheese which is why the Romans used blue cheese as an antibiotic in their wounds. Of course cheese has been around a lot longer than the Romans were. It was made before 6000 BC, so it’s been smelling the place out for quite a while.

The French (say cheese all you Frenchies) are probably the most cheesy nation on Earth and have more varieties of cheese than any other county in the world. Every adult in France eats about a pound of cheese a week, which could explain why they make a lot of perfume too. The Greeks beat the French though and eat about 63 pounds of cheese a year per person, much of it made from sheep and goat’s milk which apparently counts.

It isn’t just cakes you know, the UK makes some exceedingly good cheese too and along with our traditional varieties like Cheddar, Cheshire and Leicestershire, new varieties are being made by craft cheesemakers all the time. Of course it’s the United States who are (as with everything) the really big cheese producing more cheese that any other nation on earth, which is surprising given that their cheeses (including that awful processed substance called American or Government cheese) are so very, very, bad. The Americans favourite cheese is Mozzarella and it usually comes on top of a three foot wide pizza.

I expect we’ve all had some moldy cheese at the back of our fridge at one time or another. Another aspect of Moldy Cheese Day is a reminder to check your fridge for that ball of Mozzarella that is decomposing in its packet floating in a cheesy watery grave. But if you do find some moldy cheese you don’t necessarily need to throw it away. Soft cheeses like cottage cheese, cream cheese and ricotta cheese, with mold should always be binned. The same goes for any kind of cheese that's shredded, crumbled or sliced. But mold generally can't penetrate far into hard and semisoft cheeses, like cheddar, Parmesan and Edam. So it’s fine to cut away the moldy part and eat the rest of the cheese. I’ve been doing this for years, but don’t tell my family or I’ll never get Bolognaise again.

So let us celebrate Moldy Cheese Day and salute a Stilton, smile at a Stinking Bishop, revere a Roquefort, gush over a Gorgonzola, dine on a Danish Blue, bow to a Brie and covet a Camembert. After all, as Monty Python said: ‘Blessed be the cheesemakers’.

11 comments:


  1. Lynda Henderson on FB
    yes the US makes some god awful "Cheese-like" products, but there are some small craft cheesemakers in California, NY, Wisconsin... that make some damn good cheese smile emoticon don't forget about Spain - they make amazing cheese (Cabrales) Oh and the Dutch. Oh and Belgium... god I love cheese. The stinkier the better!!

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    1. Andrew Height
      I agree with all your points Lynda, but the UK's worst Cheddar is better than yours - na-na-na-na-nah wink emoticon

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  2. Paul Whitehouse on FB
    The American cheese Provlone .....WTF is that ? It tastes of precisely NOTHING ...then they color (sic) it red and call it 'Cheddar' !!!! For the record, It's 4,000 freakin' miles from Cheddar y'all !!!

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    1. Andrew Height When I was there I missed good cheese more than anything (including sex). I spent fortunes on imported English cheese and had it queried on my expenses!

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    2. Paul Whitehouse
      I one visited Madison WI ....the cheese capital of the USA . Still no improvement and like you Andrew I longed for a bit of real cheddar or Stilton. Nothing in the US comes close.

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  3. Tim Preston on FB
    I can't do blue cheeses - it's like garlic to a vampire. My mum and dad used to love it but I find it too physically brutal like a punch in the face.. Stilton without the blue is gorgeous

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    1. Andrew Height
      I too like white stilton, but blue is heaven

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    2. Paul Whitehouse
      It is heaven indeed especially when accompanied by crisp ice cold red grapes straight from the fridge and a fine port.

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  4. Mick Norman on FB
    Andrew Height van buy? is that a Dutchman?

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    1. Andrew Height
      Ha ha - yes Mick.

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  5. Rick Lister on FB
    Roquefort, Parmigiano-reggiano and cloth wrapped vintage cheddar - now we're talking serious cheese. Open the Burgundy!

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