December Cheese Subscription - 2021 Favourites
December delivers a lot of good stuff – sunny days and a cheese subscription that features our top picks of this year. Sure you can share with friends but honestly we wouldn’t blame you for keeping them all for yourself.
Our favourites of 2021 are:
Époisses de Bourgogne - hands down this is everyone's favourite washed rind cheese
Marcel Petite Comté- one of our favourite Comté matured by France's most respected affineur, Marcel Petite
Colston Bassett Stilton - this blue cheese is head and shoulders above all others and one that we can't imagine life without.
Montgomery's Cheddar - we only receive this benchmark of English clothbound Cheddar once a year so you don't want to miss out on this one.
This month, our blue and Cheddar options deserve a noteworthy mention. They are both thanks to London's foremost cheese store, Neal's Yard Dairy, who select and mature farmhouse & artisan cheeses for Harper & Blohm from around the United Kingdom and Ireland.
And a little heads up - if you have a multi-month subscription, there will not be a January delivery as like most of you, we'll be on a summer break.
Époisses de Bourgogne AOC
Cows milk, Burgundy region, France
Époisses de Bourgogne is (in)famous for its pungent aroma and sticky terracotta-coloured rind. The underlying paste has a smooth, velvety texture with a meaty flavour that melts in the mouth. During maturation, Époisses de Bourgogne is washed in the local Marc de Bourgogne, mixed with salty water, several times per week. It tastes milder than the aroma suggests, and has a decidedly sweet finish.
This cheese was created by Cistercian monks during the early 16th century in the village of Époisses, in Burgundy. On fast days, the monks were forbidden meat and on Fridays they ate fish. Washed rind cheeses became an important part of their diet as they had strong, meaty flavours.
Goes well with: Pinot Noir, full-bodied Chardonnay, off-dry Riesling, Champagne or sparkling wine
Marcel Petite Comté - Fort Aged Comté AOC
Cows milk (raw), Franch-Comté region, France
Marcel Petite Fort Aged Comté AOC is selected by one of the most respected affineurs in France. Each year, just a few wheels of Comte are chosen by Fromageries Marcel Petite to bear the prestigious red crown of quality (matured for more complex flavour characteristics). All cheeses are hand-selected then aged under a cold maturation system in the 19th century underground Fort of Saint-Antoine high in the mountains of the French / Swiss border. They have a rich concentrated nutty texture & a gentle caramel sweet honey flavour reflecting the rich milk of the Montbéliard cattle that graze the natural mountain pasture.
Comte is an ancient type of Gruyere, similar to the large mountain cheeses made in the Alps, on the borders of France & Switzerland. Comte now represents the largest volume of all the cheeses produced in the AOP system.
Did you know it takes 530L of milk which is the daily production of 30 cows to make just one wheel of Comte?
Goes well with: wines of the Jura or Chardonnay, dry sherry, cornichons, cured meats, nuts
Colston Bassett Stilton PDO - Neal's Yard Dairy
Cows milk, Nottinghamshire, England
Colston Bassett Stilton is one of the world’s great blue cheeses, along with French Roquefort and Italian Gorgonzola. Selected by Neal's Yard Dairy, Colston Bassett Stilton has a rich, buttery texture with a minerally tang. It’s full bodied without being sharp or overpowering, and has a mellow, fruity, savoury complexity.
Stilton was the first English cheese to be granted legal name protection under the PDO* system. Made by just six producers, the Colston Bassett & District Dairy is one of the smallest and has been making cheese since 1913. Billy Keven is only the fourth Head Cheesemaker in the past one hundred years!
Goes well with: Port, Fortified Wines, Single Malt Whisky, a Porter or Stout and a generous slice of Christmas cake
Montgomery's Cheddar PDO - Neal's Yard Dairy
Cows milk, North Cadbury, Somerset, England
Montgomery’s Cheddar is considered by many to be the quintessential English cloth-bound cheddar. It is matured for at least a year on wooden shelves (this batch since June 2020), which results in a distinctly earthy aroma. The flavour is rich, savoury, brothy and meaty, and it has a very long finish. While most Montgomery’s Cheddar is made with raw milk, this is a pasteurised milk version selected especially for the Australian market by Neal’s Yard Dairy in London.
Montgomery’s Cheddar has been made for three generations by the Montgomery family at Manor Farm in Somerset. When Jamie Montgomery took over as head cheesemaker in the mid-1990s, he was determined to make something different from the rather uniform-flavoured cloth-bound cheddars favoured by supermarkets.
Along with several other traditionally-made Cheddars in Somerset, Montgomery’s Cheddar is a Protected Name Cheese under the West Country Farmhouse Cheddar PDO*. This guarantees the cheese is made on the farm with farm-sourced milk, that the labour-intensive “cheddaring” process is done by hand, and that the cheese is matured for at least 9 months before sale.
Goes well with: full-bodied red wines, cider, ale
Ever wondered what those letters at the end of the cheese names mean? Those letters refer to official codes that recognise the special origin of the cheese (as well as wines) – where they come from and how they are made. Check out our glossary for more details.
Order your December Cheese Subscription here: