2 amazing new cheeses
On holiday in Umbria last autumn we spotted (but didn't try) some local cheese made with truffles. I thought at the time: that's something I've never seen back home. And really, I didn't expect to! Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was speaking to Anita from the Somerset Cheese Company. "Anything new?", I asked ... and the story of Truffler came out. Starting from their existing Six Spires cheddar, they've spent some time looking at a version incorporating truffles, and finally the result is here.
Talented maker Phil Rainbow (the man who gave his name to Rainbow's Gold) uses chopped Italian black truffles along with truffle oil - in order to carry the flavour right through the cheese. An admission: I've never tried truffles! I just know their reputation for having a unique and intense flavour, one which can enhance all sorts of foods. And that's certainly true here. I can only describe Truffler as a very full-tasting cheddar ... but with an extraordinary twist!
The other new cheese is Laverstoke's Buffalo Gouda. Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire is an organic / biodynamic farm specialising in buffalo milk products. It was set up by the former racing driver Jody Scheckter. They started with the more 'obvious' buffalo milk cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella. To move the dairy on, though, more expertise was needed - and so Schekter called Dutch-born Margaretha Herman, who at that time had her own smallholding in the Forest of Dean, producing goats' cheese.
Margaretha learned to make traditional Gouda from her grandmother - and still makes it by 'feel' rather than from a recipe. They've also added a brie, a cheddar and are working on a blue. But for the moment, here's the Buffalo Gouda. Try some!