Valentines Day 2019
I must admit I do occasionally get funny looks from people when I suggest that cheese might be a good present for Valentine's Day! But of course, if your loved one happens to love this particular foodstuff (and fortunately for us there's plenty out there that do), well ... how could you go wrong?
So every year we offer a special box for cheese lovers with a couple of things that have been specially made for the occasion. As the name suggests, our Two Hearts box contains just that: two heart-shaped cheeses which we think make a lovely complementary couple. Yin and yang, if you like. Sharpham Rustic is an absolute classic; it would have to be in our handful of top favourite Westcountry cheeses. It features the downy white rind you'd associate with a brie, but is actually a firmer, 'semi-soft' cheese. Made with creamy unpasteurised Jersey milk, its a stunner. I don't think they'd ever made a heart-shaped version until we asked them to, a few years back ... but it works beautifully, and Rustic Heart is something you won't see anywhere else.
Its partner is a Dartmoor Chilli Heart. Now - yes, I did say chilli but don't worry! It's a nice little tingle rather than anything more fierce ... but that hint of chilli (locally grown just down the road in Ashburton) is a delightful addition to what - in its original form as Curworthy - is a sweet and mellow cheese. Maker Rachel Stephens, based just north of Dartmoor, is one of the most well-established and respected Devon cheese makers. So our lovely Two Hearts are a match made in Devon ... and possibly also in heaven!
Each box also contains a box of Hillside Pink Peppercorn Crunch crackers and the Beetroot and Orange Chutney from clever Clare Gault, based just up the road from us, and there's an option to add either Global Harvest's Damson flavoured 'membrillo' or a Plum & Port Fruit Preserve - also from Hillside.
And of course, with a romantic evening in mind, a bottle of something might not come amiss. Having been in Sicily a few months back, I'm currently very keen on all things Sicilian - and when you're there, the local Nero d'Avola wines are everywhere - so why not try ours? Check out Palazzo del Mare Nero d'Avola. Port is a thought, of course ... and we have a half-bottle or a whole one available ... or for something even more special, how about Somerset Cider Brandy?