Maws offer cheese to please everyone this Christmas from casual nibblers to committed connoisseurs. So now it’s time to offer our recommendations for some truly sublime soft cheese choices.
As delectable as most hard cheeses are, there can sometimes be something about them that just says ‘lunchtime sandwich’, and to be fair, it’s precisely this great everyday all-rounder status that keeps varieties like Cheddar and Red Leicester at the top of UK’s ‘most popular’ list.
However, when it comes to the special occasions there’s nothing quite like the texture and tang of a soft cheese to deliver that silky sense of indulgent luxury.
Halfway To Heaven
Equally delicious, and with a texture all of their own, are those semi-soft cheeses, yielding tantalisingly against both knife and palate.
For those looking for an exciting UK alternative to standards such Port Salut, we couldn’t find a better recommendation than Celtic Promise, and this unique dumpling shaped cheese from Wales even has the same distinctive orange rind, thanks to being ripened in cider.
A rich and fruity unpasteurised, semi-soft cheese made from cows' milk, each batch of Celtic Promise is handmade by the team at Telfi farmhouse in Ceredigon, before being carefully matured by expert Pat Jackson in East Sussex.
Meanwhile Sussex cheesmakers Alsop & Walker have confected Lord London, unique semi-soft bell-shaped cows' cheese that delivers a clean citrus taste to complement it’s natural creaminess. Perfect with a glass of Christmas fizz.
Goat’s cheese, consumes an increasing section of the semi-soft cheese market, and it’s continuing popularity is very much thanks to delights such as Golden Cross. This delicious goat log hailing from Bath is first rolled in ash, then matured to develop a complex yet subtle flavour and an exquisite texture not unlike ice-cream.
Of all soft cheeses, Camembert and Brie are the two French styles that reign as king and queen. Accepting this conventional wisdom, Maws are delighted that independent cheesemakers in the southeast of England are now producing award-winning versions of each.
Chaucer’s Camembert, as you'll probably guess from the name, is a creation of the Cheesemakers Canterbury, based in the heart of Kent. This 2014 Great Taste award-winner is a British Friesian cow’s milk cheese matured for three weeks until rich and creamy. Leave it out of the fridge on the day you eat it, watch it open up like a flower, then tuck in.
For pure festive extravagance you’ll be hard pushed to beat Alsop & Walkers’ Sussex Truffle Brie. A treat for special occasions this sumptuous, naturally rinded cheese is produced in East Sussex using locally sourced full fat cows milk with a creamy sandwich filling of Italian Black Truffles and Porcinci mushrooms, to creaty a highly aromatic, earthily flavoured confection that’s also suitable for vegetarians.
Melt The Blues
For every lover of Stilton these days there’s someone else who’d prefer to see a slice of soft blue cheese sliding on to their cracker.
Classic like the French Roquefort and Italian Gorgonzola may still hold sway, but there are plenty of British made soft blue cheeses to give them a run for their money these days, and none more so than Kingcott Blue.
Produced at the Kingcott Dairy in Kent, this award-winner uses unpasteurised milk from Brown Swiss high-welfare cows to create a natural mould-ripened cheese that perfectly balances tanginess against a silken, creamy finish.
Celtic Promise and Lord London per 500g, Golden Cross per 250g log, Chaucer’s Camembert per 100g, Sussex Truffle Brie and Kingcott Blue per 1kg wheel.