In this guest post, the lovely Martin from Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden shares his 8 top tips for getting the best from your cheese.
- Buy as much as you think you’ll eat in about a week, for most people. Some people buy enough and buy frequently enough in large bits, that they are able to look after their big bits of cheese for a few weeks. Stilton is a great example of a cheese which is super easy to keep for a month or more. But if you’re uninitiated, buy a little for the next few days. Being nostalgic for finished cheese is better than being guilty for throwing food away.
- Expect change – in a live product like cheese, temperature and humidity and time work upon the food constantly. Cheese can dry out easily, but sometimes that can make it more intense which some people actually find more enjoyable.
- Treat cheese a bit like jam or bread – if a bit of cheese looks a bit unappealing on the cut surface, trim a bit off and taste what’s underneath. Most probably it’ll be good.
- Toxin producing mould is rare and you need lots to make you sick… like lots of mould. Cheese making bacteria, generally speaking, Lactic Acid Bacteria (LABs for short) are extremely good for you and also resist pathogenic bacteria by outcompeting for resources. What I’m saying is, you can rely upon cheese to be nutritious, tasty and safe. Don’t take it to mean that you could dig some cheese out of a landfill and not make yourself ill, but I’m pretty sure that cheese and yogurt are among the most reliable and safe things in your fridge, if your fridge is a good place to begin with.
- Should you go with the fridge, or no fridge? The fridge is easier and most people don’t have pantries. Keep it in the paper, in a plastic bag or paper bag, in the vegetable drawer with lettuce and the like. Store it between 6-8°c and high humidity is by far the best temperature. Below 6°c is very dry and cheese is dormant but rinds and moulds aren’t. If it’s around Christmas time and you’ve got a conservatory or an unheated room, bring it out two hours before hand. People say one hour, but I reckon two so it actually gets to room temperature and tastes great.
- Buy cheese you can try in the shop. If you don’t like it you’ll only throw it away and it’s a negative result for everyone. Buy cheese you really, really like and enjoy so you can share it with people.
- Buy cheese from people who eat cheese constantly and like it, just like us!
- It helps if we get some context if you’re buying for a cheese board. Buying for someone important? We want to make you look good. Use us. We are in your corner!
Want to know a bit more about Neal’s Yard? Check out this awesome film that follows the production of three different raw milk British cheeses:
Have you bought some lovely cheese recently? Here at The Stink we’re always interested in our reader’s antics. Send us an email atTheStinkLondon@outlook.com or tweet @TheStinkLondon to let us know what you’ve been up to.