FLAT ROCK CHEESE NOTES
Camembert (Herve Mons)
Camembert is a white mould, cow’s milk cheese from Camembert in Normandy in France.
It was first made in the late 18th century from unpasteurised local milk, by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandy, following advice from a visiting priest from Brie.
However as with so many classic French cheeses, this is a pasteurised version for the Australian market.
As a white mould cheese, it is surface ripened through the penicillin based mould and matures from the outside in.
As a young cheese the interior is harder with a chalky texture, as it matures this softens and becomes oozing and unctuous.
Around 18 million unpasteurised milk camembert cheeses are made annually in Normandy (there are ~64m people in France and ~3.4m in Normandy).
After manufacture, the cheeses are left to mature for a minimum of three weeks or longer. Once ready they are wrapped in in paper and often placed in wooden boxes for transport.
This Camembert is matured by famous French Affineur Herve Mons. It has a fine fury rind which gives way to a sensational pale yellow interior.
The rind’s mild mushroom aromas are well balanced with the cauliflower cream flavour and supple soothing texture of the cheese.
Always lets a Camembert warm up to room temperature to let the full flavours reveal themselves, a cold Camembert can have a more muted taste.
Camembert is often compared to its neighbour from the Ile de France – Brie. the differences resulting from the different origin of milk, the size of the finished cheeses and their maturation.
As Camembert is designed to be sold as a contained, mould covered cheese, rather than a slice from a bigger cheese, it has a higher mold to cheese surface ratio,
Match with a sparkling wine, chardonnay, light red wine, cider or a lambic sour beer.
Rond La Tradition (Jacquin)
Rond La Tradition is, as the name translates, a traditionally made French round goats cheese, covered in a layer of ash.
It is made by Fromagerie Jacquin, a famous cheese making family stretching back over four generations, based in the Loire Valley region of France.
The family has specialised in making traditional French goats cheeses of all shapes and sizes,
and now export around the world, producing over 1,000 tons of goats cheeses per year, from a herd of around 7,000 goats.
The Rond La Tradition cheese are made using tapered moulds that are gently filled by hand with a ladle to ensure a smooth texture.
Cheeses are first salted by hand then coated in mix of salt and powdered vegetable ash.
The creamy, bright white paste is sweet and nutty; the dark blue rind is edible and gives the cheese its particular flavour.
Pair with a crisp, white wine or a white ale.
Mahon is the capital of Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands off the east coast of Spain, placed just above Majorca and Ibiza
Mahon is the principle port of Menorca, and local produce that passes out of it is all named after Mahon… the ham, the cheese, etc etc….
Mahon cheese is a pasteurised cow’s milk cheese. It is a versatile cheese that can be matured for different periods, resulting in quite different tastes and textures.
As a younger cheese (typically 20-60 days), it has a more subtle and mild with a buttery sharp, slightly salty, lightly aromatic taste with a sweet and nutty notes.
As it matures, the flavour increases and the texture becomes harder. When most mature, its texture becomes more like Parmigiano reggiano.
The slightly salty taste is due in part to the salt content of the grass the cows eat. Nowhere being too far from the sea in Menorca.
The rind of the cheese is an orange colour from being rubbed witholive oil and paprika as part of its traditional manufacture.
When Mahon cheese is made, the young cheese is wrapped in cloth, this being gathered up by its corners and tied in a knot at the top.
This package is then pressed by hand to force the air out, and results in the distinct ‘cushion’ shape of the finished cheese
The cheese are traditionally matured and stored in underground caves with the right temperature and airflow, that have been used for this purpose since the 18th Century.
The traditional manner of eating Mahón consisted of sliced cheese, sprinkled with olive oil, black pepper and tarragon.
Mahon cheese is Spain’s second most popular cheese following Manchego.
Match with a glass of sherry, a fruity white wine, fruity ale or even sake for the mature version of the cheese.
Cantal is one of the oldest of French cheeses dating back to the time of the Gauls (think Asterix & Obelix).
It is a cow’s milk cheese made in the Auvergne region in central France.
Cantal was originally produced by putting the curd into a wooden cylinder called ‘le formage’,
which is thought to the origin of the French word for cheese ‘le fromage’
It is made using the cheddaring process typical of many English cheeses, but is the only French cheese produced this way.
Cheddaring is an extra stage in the cheese making process that is used to reduce more whey from the curds, add flavour and increase acidity,
together with increasing the density and crumbliness of the cheese. Sometimes Cantal is called the ‘French Cheddar’.
When it is young, Cantal has a simper, moist texture and mild nutty, creamy taste. As it ages, it gets a more robust taste, reminiscent of its cousin Cheddar.
It has a thick crust, with a peppery, spicy aroma after eight months in a cellar. It has a hard, but crumbly texture and strong tangy, nutty and buttery taste that grows with age.
Match it with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet / Merlot – Bordeaux blend red wine, or an American Pale Ale.
Beloved of Wallace & Gromit, Wensleydale is an English cow’s milk cheese. It was introduced by French monks in the 11th century
and was originally made from sheep’s milk, but this was replaced with cow’s milk in the 17th century.
Wensleydale is a young cheese typically only matured for 6-12 weeks.
It has a pale white colour, with a creamy, crumbly, moist texture. It has a subtle wild honey flavour, balanced with the cheese’s refreshing acidity.
This cheese is made by one of the few remaining traditional Wensleydale makers, the Hawes Creamery in Yorkshire, Northern England.
The dairy has had a tumultuous history, with falling production forcing its closure in 1992,
only to be resurrected by a passionate local management team buyout six months later, who still run the dairy today.
Wensleydale was immortalised by Wallace’s question “More Wensleydale Gromit?”, as the pair celebrated at the end of a successful mission.
At the time, the Wensleydale Dairy was struggling financially and almost went into bankruptcy,
the success of the Wallace and Gromit animations and associations with Wensleydale,
brought the factory back from the brink and they are currently a thriving dairy!
The youth of the cheese, together with its acid bite, make it a great match with fruit,
It is also traditionally eaten with fruit cake in the north of England.
Match with a fruity, acidic white wine like Pino Grigio, Sauvignion Blanc, younger Chardonnay or a fruity IPA beer.
Shropshire Blue is a pasteurised cow’s milk cheesemade by the Colston Basset Dairy on the border between Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire in northern England.
The dairy was built in 1913 to make stilton from local farm milk. The Shropshire Blue is a variant of the traditional Stilton.
The cheese actually has nothing to do with the county of Shropshire, rather it was invented in the 1970’s in Inverness as a Scottish attempt to replicate Stilton.
It was first known as ‘Inverness-shire Blue’ or “Blue Stuart’, but was later renamed and marketed as ‘Shropshire Blue’ to enhance its credentials and popularity.
Shropshire Blue’s orange colour comes from the addition of annatto, a natural food colouring .
Aside from the colour, it is made in almost the same way as Stilton, with penecillium roqueforti being punched into the cheese using metal rods to produce the mould veins.
The cheese has a deep orange-brown, natural rind and matures for a period of 10–12 weeks with a fat content of about 48 per cent.
It is a soft, slightly oily texture, with a sharp, strong flavour with a hint of nuttiness to balance the sweet blue notes,
and a slightly tangy aroma. It is sharper than Stilton and generally creamier.
Match with a port, Riesling, a Belgian quad or dark porter beer.