With cheeseboards up and down the country set for their busiest time of year, distinguished Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s, is calling for festive folk to learn the way of the wedge and make the most of their cheese this Christmas.
For a cut above the rest, Quicke’s Farm Shop manager, Julie Hernandez, says its essential to slice the wedge from the nose to the rind, in order to savour the distinctive variety of flavours achieved during the maturation of each clothbound truckle. From the smooth, buttery and tangy tip to the brittle, earthy and horseradishy cheese towards the rind, and the spectrum of nutty and creamy flavours in between, there’s more to each mouthful than meets the eye.
As cheddar is the undisputed cheeseboard champ and overstocking becomes obligatory at this time of year, it’s also important to take care of the cheese to keep it at its best. Waxed butchers paper, stuck down with the cheese’s label, is the best wrapping paper around for cheese, while a gentle scrape of the cut surface of the cheese every few days will stop thread moulds developing and spoiling carefully laid plans for fruit, crackers, pickles and pairings.
“With our time-honoured cheesemaking methods and the months of grading and maturation that take place to produce a true taste of the landscape here at Home Farm, each wedge takes you on a journey in texture and taste, from the nose all the way to the rind. I always want my guests to enjoy the whole story, so I give the cheese a good two hours at room temperature to bring out its full flavour and then make the first few cuts myself to get the ball rolling, before adding pretty accompaniments like quince paste or honey, nuts and seeds – maybe even a cheese friendly flower like nasturtium. With cutting and cheese care taken care of, my final piece of advice would be to serve the cheese course first, as guests arrive. It goes so well with beer or wine and while the rest of the food is being prepared, it’s such a social food to get everyone chatting around the cheeseboard.”
For more information on Quicke's, please visit www.quickes.co.uk.