Doug's Cheeses

Because so many cheese names are protected, I have to make up my own names for the cheeses I make. The cheeses are made to enjoy on a cheese board with a good wine and rustic bread or crackers either at the end of a meal or as a snack. You may want to add honey, chutney and grapes to the cheese board. This is by no way all of the cheeses I make, but it represents the most popular ones I produce...

The French would say cheese should not be refrigerated – I would advise that cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but taken out 2 to 3 hours before consumption; before you ask, or in case you are curious, I only use pasteurised milk.

Chandlers Choice homemade cheeseChandlers Choice – Medium Hard Cheese. This is a cows milk cheese, loosely based on an Italian "Fontina d Aosta" style of cheese, but because Fontina is PDO or name protected, I have changed the name and the recipe slightly. In Italy, Fontina is made twice daily from the milk of the Valdostona cows that graze the slopes of the Alps around Aosta. It is creamy, with small air holes, it has a slight tang which hangs on the palate, some would say, with ‘nutty’ after tones. A version of Fontina is made in several areas of Italy, however the most famous is Fontina d’ Aosta. It is thought to date back to the middle ages and be named after a local family called ‘Fontin’. The Cheese can be eaten when quite young at which time it is known as ‘Fontinella’, however Chandlers Choice cheese has been made by hand with love and dedication to an old recipe, it has been pressed then aged for over 3 months. It is a washed rind cheese which means the cheese is allowed to form a natural rind, it is washed with brine regularly then dressed with Olive Oil to maintain the moisture of the cheese. Because of this it has a more refined taste than most commercially produced cheeses. The taste of the cheese can be appreciated by someone who would recognise the finer nuances of this cheese, so please enjoy it and appreciate the thought that went into the manufacture and the presentation of the cheese. The cheese is better enjoyed with a full bodied red wine, preferably from the north of Italy, such as Barolo, however, the Italians also use Fontina in a dish called Fonduta where the cheese is whipped with eggs and cream into a sort of scrambled eggs or cream cheese sauce to cover food or as a dip.

 

Something for the weekend homemade cheeseSomething for the Weekend – Medium Hard Cheese. This is a cows milk cheese, it is akin to a "Monterey Jack" style of cheese, it has a creamy paste, with little or no rind, there are some tangy, pungent after tones. Based around the famous American cheese, which history would have us believe was first made in Monterey, California, by a man called David Jack. It is thought ‘Jack’ cheese may have been influenced by cheeses brought through Mexico to California in the 1700s by Franciscan Monks. I changed the cheese to Something for the Weekend through the addition of ‘red linens’ which is a naturally occurring bacteria, often added to cheeses such as Munster and Port Salut, this creates the pungency of the cheese. The name was suggested to me by someone at a cheese festival in Sturminster Newton. As with all of my cheeses they have been made by hand and aged for the appropriate length of time, in this case over 3 months, as such it has a more refined taste than most commercially produced cheeses. I hope you appreciate the finer nuances of this cheese. To accompany the cheese I would recommend a full bodied Californian Merlot, or a French Medoc. Try frying some mushrooms in butter, putting them on toast then laying a couple of slices of the cheese on top, then pop back under the grill for a minute or two.

 

Formaggio Forte Romano homemade cheeseChandlers Formaggio Forte Romano – Medium Hard Cheese, this is a cows milk cheese made to a traditional Italian "Pecorino Romano" recipe, though classed as a hard cheese when aged, when younger it is extra creamy with a slight tang and delicate after taste; there can be some air holes in the centre which form as part of the aging process. This style of cheese was eaten by the Romans and the recipe has changed little over the years. In 100BC Pecorino Romano was recognised by Marcus Terentius Varro as being an essential part of the rations for the Roman Legions. Hailing from central Italy (Tuscany), this cheese was originally made with sheeps milk and still is, however a goats milk version called Caprino Romano is also widely acclaimed in Italy but cows milk is also used today with the addition of Capalase Lipase powder to give extra piquancy. This Chandlers Formaggio Forte Romano cheese has been made by hand with love and dedication, regularly washed in brine and dressed with Olive Oil throughout its 3 months aging process, as such it has a more refined taste than most commercially produced cheeses. I hope this cheese is something different for you to try and that you can appreciate the finer nuances of this ancient style of cheese. If kept for long enough (10 months) this cheese will become an excellent grating cheese very similar to Parmesan. Being an Italian cheese, Italian wine is an excellent accompaniment, as the cheese is primarily made in Tuscany, it has to be Chianti Rufina, or my favourite, Montepulciano. I think the cheese stands up well against any cheese on a cheese board, however, even when still quite young (which is how I deliver it) it goes well grated on a plain pasta with a cream and mushrooms sauce.

 

Chandlers Chevre homemade cheeseChandlers Che'vre – French style soft goats milk cheese. Based on the famous Cabe’cou de Rocamadour cheese which gained AOC status in 1996, this cheese can be gentle and mild when young, but stronger as it ages at which time it can become pungent. Throughout the world goats have been and still are one of the main sources of milk for people, as such numerous variations of soft goats cheese are being made, they are all following a similar method of production, this is my version. The skin is formed by the addition of cultures called Penicillium Candidum and Geotrichum Candidum, the cheese is left to drain naturally, dressed with a salt wash, then left to form a skin. It is edible within two weeks, I usually try to sell the cheese within two to three weeks, any longer and it starts to become very strong. I would advise the cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but taken out 2 to 3 hours before consumption. This can be served grilled on toast with a little salad and balsamic dressing, however, cold with figs or a pear, is just as good. Try it on a caramelised red onion and Balsamic Vinegar tart. The wine to accompany the cheese should be a fruity red from the Cahors region of France, Glannes is another great wine if you can get it, or a St. Emilion if you want to push the boat out.

 

Chandlers Herb ChoiceChandlers Herb Choice – Soft cheese based on a traditional Corsican cheese called “Brin d’ Amor” however, it is also called Fleur du Maquis; the Maquis in question being the Corsican landscape . This is a mix of cows and goats milk and is encrusted with a mixture of fine herbs which grow wild in the Corsican countryside, hence the name. It is a fine blend of cheese and herb neither overpowering the other. This cheese has been made by hand to the ancient Corsican recipe and aged for up to 3 months, this is the true ‘Brin d’ Amor style cheese, as such it has a more earthy taste than some people are used to and certainly than most commercially produced cheeses can provide. Please appreciate the finer nuances of this cheese and enjoy the thought that went into the manufacture of the cheese. The cheese will stand alone on a cheese board, served with a reasonable Cap Corse, or even a Sicilian red wine. (But don’t tell the Corsicans I said that).

 

Grin and Bear It homemade cheeseGrin and Bear it Blue - Soft cheese based on the traditional Corsican cheese called "Brin d’ Amor” mentioned on the last page. It is the same mix of cows and goats milk but without the herbs, instead it has a hint of blue which I have introduced by adding a natural bacteria called Penicilium Roqueforti. Because the cheese is washed or dressed with salt once it comes out of the mould, this helps the skin form, this is called a washed rind cheese therefore the skin is edible. This cheese has been made by hand with love and dedication to an old recipe, as such it has a more refined taste than most commercially produced cheeses. This is a popular cheese, probably because it does not carry the challenge to the palate of the true ‘Brin d’ Amor but presents a more acceptable gentler ‘Blue’ flavour. Please enjoy this with a good wine and fine bread. Because this is a blue cheese a more full bodied red may better serve the palate, a Languedoc or Bordeaux would be good, or if having the cheese with a salad, a nice crisp chilled Riesling. I would advise the cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but taken out 2 to 3 hours before consumption.

 

Chandlers Roque homemade cheeseChandlers Roque' - Hard to semi-hard cows milk cheese. This is an English “Stilton" style cheese, but with added cream for a smoother texture with a milder taste of blue. The taste obviously changes with age and will hold its own against any blue if aged long enough (for 4-6 months). This style of cheese has been made in the area of Stilton, England, since the 1700; therefore when the Bell Inn, in the village of Stilton became a staging post for the mail coaches and passenger coaches on the way to York, the fame of the cheese spread rapidly around the country. At one point, it is thought that Cooper Thornhill the landlord of the Bell Inn was sending up to a 1000 cheeses a week to London. I don’t make a thousand a week, but what I do is make one a month, however, it’s made by hand with love and dedication and it is aged for over 3 months, as such, when you first receive the cheese it has a mild, more refined taste than most commercially produced cheeses, but as stated, if left to age, it will increase in colour and taste. Though not a fan of blue cheese myself, I love making this cheese and I enjoy eating it with a little sweet pickle or chutney, apple and grapes. Try the cheese in cream of broccoli soup, on toast, on top of an onion tart, or in a salad with walnuts. If having a Ploughman’s then a good beer or sweet cider/ dry white wine may be the drink to accompany the cheese, however if on a cheese board, in a salad or on toast/ onion tart, then perhaps a good fruity red is more appropriate, a Sauvignon Merlot from Chile or Montbazillac perhaps?

 

Chandlers Cambozola homemade cheeseChandlers Cambozola - Soft cows milk cheese, self explanatory in that it is a mixture of French style Camembert and Italian style Gorgonzola cheese, this cheese was first made in Germany in the early 1900s and is sometimes known as Bavarian Blu. The commercially produced cheese because of its mild taste is often known as the blue cheese for people who don’t like blue cheese. My cheese on the other hand is quite strong and tangy, it has the flavour of a ripe Camembert with a hint of blue which is created by the introduction of the natural bacteria Penicilium Roqueforti. This cheese has been aged for over 2 months, as such it has a different taste to most commercially produced cheeses. The cheese is a washed rind cheese, therefore the skin can be eaten. I would advise the cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but taken out 2 to 3 hours before consumption. The cheese is excellent on the cheese board, served with crisp white grapes and a good white German wine such as Riesling along with some good sour dough or rustic bread or even Pumpernickel. Even a Cotes de Rhone Villages – Sablet would be great, all those lovely spicy, peppery overtones of the Grenache grape work well with this cheese.

 

Chandlers Fromage Blanc Doux homemade cheeseChandlers Fromage Blanc Doux - This is a cows milk soft French Brie style cheese, but because it follows the traditional style of making it, I think it has more taste, it may not be as soft as you are used to but will get there if left to age. There are loads and loads of soft white cheeses from around the world, including some excellent British Artisan cheeses. Most people are used to the name protected ‘Brie de Meaux’ (AOC) which came to fame in 1814 when it was named ‘Le Roi des Fromages’ (King of Cheese)at the congress of Vienna. The sales ploy of selling the cheeses in wooden boxes seems to have helped the cheese to catch on. I follow a more traditional Brie de Melun style recipe. This cheese has been made by hand with love and dedication to an old recipe and aged for over 2 months, as such it has a taste more true to the original flavours than most commercially produced cheeses. Like a lot of French cheeses, Chandlers Fromage Blanc Doux can develop quiet a strong aroma this is perfectly normal and is a side effect of the natural bacteria working within the skin of the cheese; the French love this smell and feel this proves the cheese is ready to eat. It can make the cheese a little pungent and tangy, however, if taken with bread and wine, it can be wonderful. I would advise the cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but taken out 2 to 3 hours before consumption. This is a cheese board cheese, only French bread and French wine such as Cotes de Rhone or Bordeaux will do, or if on a budget, Languedoc, or D’oc wine.

 

Chandlers Le Fort Fromage Blanc homemade cheeseChandlers Le Fort Fromage Blanc - This is a cows milk, soft French Camembert style of cheese, it is one of the most famous French cheeses, created in Normandy in 1791 by Marie Harel, she was a farmers wife in the area of Camembert. The cheese was granted AOC status in 1983. True aficionados think the cheese can only be made with whole milk, but I use pasteurised. Apparently, the locals of Camembert prefer the cheese to have a hard white centre with the outsides turning creamy. Everyone is used to eating the young cheese out of the box, but most French people think this is far too early. Because I follow the traditional recipe it may not be all that similar to what you are used to; I usually don't part with this cheese until it has legs good enough to walk off the plate on its own. This cheese has been made by hand with love and dedication to an old recipe and aged for over 2 months, as such it has a strong more mature taste than most commercially produced cheeses. The French would say cheese should not be refrigerated, and this is how Camembert should be eaten, tangy and pungent – I would advise the cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but taken out 2 to 3 hours before consumption. Again, as with Chandlers Fromage Blanc Doux this is cheese board cheese, made to be eaten with French bread and accompanied by good French wine as above or cider. However, we have been known to cut small holes in the top of the cheese, drop some Garlic cloves and chilli flakes in, pour on a few drops of olive oil, wrap in foil and roast it in the oven for 15 minutes or so, then dip bread into the soft cheese, lovely.

 

Chandlers Chilli homemade cheeseChandlers Chilli Special - This is a cows milk cheese based on an American “Monterey Jack” style cheese previously mentioned (Something for the Weekend), but this cheese has chilli flakes added and is without the Red Linens that are added to Something for the Weekend.. The first time I made this cheese people said it was too mild, I have made it again with more chilli added, this has proven very popular. The cheese has been made by hand to an American recipe and is quite young, it is a creamy white cheese with little rind with flecks of chilli throughout. This Cheese is for the cheese board and is something unusual, however, I have been told that grated on tacos and put under the grill, it works well. A nice spicy wine would go well with this, Valpolicello Ripasso from Italy or Valdepenas from the La Mancha area of Spain.

 

Chandlers Get Your Goat homemade cheeseChandlers 'Get your Goat' - This is a semi-hard English goats milk cheese. Goats cheese, can be gentle when young, but stronger as it ages. There are lots of hard goats cheeses around but this is my own recipe which was arrived at after much trial and error. It is a pressed cheese, that’s how it stays hard and has little rind. If left long enough, this cheese can become pungent, however as this is a pressed cheese, it is not quite so strong. This cheese has been made by hand to an old Cheddar style recipe and aged for over 3 months, as such it has a more refined taste than most commercially produced cheeses, the flesh is bright white and can be crumbly in texture. The cheese has a red coating painted on to it to help the cheese keep its shape and help with maturing, that coating is not edible. I would advise the cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but taken out 2 to 3 hours before consumption. The cheese can be served on a cheese board, crumbled over a salad or jacket potato, even on toast. Goes well with a lovely crisp white wine, New Zealand Nobilo Southern Rivers Sauvignon Blanc perhaps or even a good English white or bubbly, I would have recommended Wickham Wines if they had not gone into liquidation.

 

Tallyho homemade cheeseTallyho - This is a soft cows milk cheese, made in the style of the Italian cheese “Taleggio”, which is a PDO protected name cheese a bit like Port Salut but the way I make it has more bite to it, making it slightly more tangy. It is a washed rind cheese, therefore you can eat the rind if you wish, but it is strong. The orange skin is created by the addition of Red Linens whilst making the cheese. This cheese has been made since the 10th /11th century in Northern Italy, however some say it has been around since Roman times. It has only been called Taleggio since the 20th century and refers to the Val Taleggio in the province of Bergamo, in the Po Valley which is where it is made. Prior to being called Taleggio it was called Stracchino which was linked to the Lobardi dialect for ‘stracch’ meaning tired or exhausted. It relates to the condition of the cows after their long trek from the mountains onto the plains in the valley. The cheese is normally made in a square mould, but I make mine in a round mould, by hand and age it for over 1 month, so please enjoy it and appreciate the thought that went into the manufacture of the cheese. I would advise the cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but taken out 2 to 3 hours before consumption. This is a good all round cheese, it can be used on the cheese board, it melts well so can be used to melt over pasta, mushrooms on toast, it goes well in risottos, soups or salads. Both Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater offer recipes for this cheese. Wines to drink with this cheese would be northern Italian wines, Terre di Franciacorta sparkling white comes to mind, even a Frascati, would suffice. On the other hand Chianti would also be acceptable with this cheese (or any other for that matter).

  

Homemade cheeseAshdown Special - This is a new cheese, it’s a mix of Goat and Cow milk, left to drain naturally with some Penicilum Candidum added to help with forming the skin. A little touch of blue is present on the skin; however, the main taste is of earthy creamy semi hard cheese. This is a cheese board cheese best served with a good Italian Red - Chianti or others from that area would be excellent, perhaps, even an early 2000 Gold Medal Rioja would be acceptable if just passing the time of day with a "nibble and a slurp", lovely.

 

Homemade cheeseBlack Pearl - This Cheese is as a result of using the second cheese from the “Two for One” cheeses that would normally be coated in Penicilium Candidum and Penicilium Roqueforty and named ‘Grin and Bear it’. Instead I have covered this one with Food Grade Activated Charcoal, left it to form a white powder rather like the French Goats Cheese Valencay, then refrigerated it for storage. The end result was a cheese with a soft paste texture, slightly runny when warm, tasting more of Goats Cheese than the herb covered Chandlers Herb Choice.

 

Other cheese will be offered at times and I will make cheese to order if required, for example I have made saffron infused Manchego in the past, for our own consumption I also do Cheddar, Cheshire, Caerphilly and plan to do a Wensleydale at some time. I have made smoked cheese in the past which was well accepted, so will be doing more of those – so watch this space and please continue to enjoy the cheese. I am also looking to provide cheeses in ‘Truckles’ or half ‘Truckles’.

I have to thank Juliet Harbutt (2012) , along with Mary Karlin (2012) for their input into these notes