Cheese For Easter

Say Cheese For Easter!

In many countries cheese is associated with Easter celebrations. Across Eastern Europe there are a number of different cheeses, which traditionally included in meals over the holiday and as far away as Jamaica, cheese is a traditional part of the feast which follows the traditional Lenten fast.

Teddington Cheese, one of the UK’s leading online cheese retailers and they are championing some cheeses from nearer to home as perfect for your Easter celebrations – or for a gift if you want to avoid chocolate.

Tony Chuck, owner of Teddington Cheese, suggests a mixture of four English and two French cheeses. “If you are going away for the Easter weekend, they will make the perfect gift for your host. Alternatively, just select a few to tide you over Easter Sunday and Monday.“

First on Tony’s list is Appleby’s Red Cheshire, one of the oldest cheeses made in England. “This deliciously tangy, crumbly, unpasteurised cow’s milk vegetarian cheese is in fact produced in Shropshire but is one of the finest examples of Cheshire cheese-making.” It is excellent for a cheeseboard and for cooking.

Second is Spenwood, from Berkshire, a vegetarian cheese made with unpasteurised ewe’s milk and named after the village where it originated (Spencers Wood). It is produced by Ann and Andy Wigmore, who were inspired to make it after visiting Sardinia and tasting the delicious Pecorino. “A rich, nutty flavour with a slightly flaky texture, Spenwood hardens as it matures and develops a greater depth of piquancy.”  It is also ideal for grating onto pasta and risotto.

Third on Tony’s list is Elmhirst, a mould ripened triple cream cheese, which is handmade in Totnes, Devon by the Sharpham Dairy.  Another vegetarian cheese made with unpasteurised Jersey cow’s milk, this soft cheese is surprisingly light and delicate when young, maturing into a rich and full-bodied flavor

Next is Rachel, a vegetarian semi-hard goat’s milk cheese made by the White Lake company in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.  “This washed rind cheese has a firm texture and a gentle, lingering flavour,” says Tony Chuck. “It is washed in a brine solution throughout its maturation, resulting in a gentle, nutty, lingering flavour.”

And now to France for Tony’s final two Easter choices; Langres is a cow’s milk, orange-brown coloured cheese, shaped like a sunken drum.  It is made in Champagne and has a rich and smooth paste and a pungent aroma. “The depression at the top of the cheese is called a "fontaine" or "cuvette" and is quite intentional.” Says Tony, “You can pour champagne or marc de champagne in it, allowing the cheese to be savoured - just as we like to enjoy port with Stilton.”

Last, but by no means least, is Bleu des Causses, from Rouergue has a creamy texture, with a salty, full flavour.  Inspired by Roquefort, Bleu des Causses is also matured in limestone caves where the cool, damp air carries the mould spores, which encourage the development of the blue veins.  Originally made with a mixture of ewe’s and cow’s milk, due to the latter being cheaper and more plentiful, this cheese was once known as ‘the poor man’s Roquefort’.  “The unpasteurised version we have sourced for Teddington Cheese is a fabulous cheese in its own right, and preferred to Roquefort by most of our customers.” Says Tony.

Transport tips for Cheese: At Teddington Cheese customers frequently buy cheese to take to their hosts on a weekend away or at a dinner party and often ask the best way to transport cheese.  If you are going away for Easter and want to take some cheese with you, Tony advises keeping it in its waxed paper wrapping. Don’t be tempted to wrap it in cling film or a plastic bag as it will cause the cheese to sweat. Next, loosely over-wrap the cheese in a damp tea towel and place it inside an airtight plastic box. Do not over pack the box. 

If you are making a long journey you can include a frozen ice pack in the box but make sure it doesn’t touch the cheese. Pack it just before leaving and return it to a cool place as soon as possible after arriving.

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Alison Jee