Spotlight on: Cheese
If you like cheese then Stroud Farmers’ Market is your mecca. There’s a wonderful range of cheese available from traditional single and double Gloucesters to local mozzarella and brie!
Godsell’s Artisan Cheese (1st, 3rd & 4th Saturdays)
With almost 30 awards behind her, Liz Godsell of Godsell’s Cheese knows a thing or two about what makes good cheese. Godsell’s is one of a handful of cheese makers to produce traditional Single Gloucester; they also do a very fine Double Gloucester, cheddar-style Leonard Stanley and Cheshire-style Three Virgins. Godsell’s also has a knack for combining flavours – try the Village Gossip, a single Gloucester with chives; the Uley Tump, single and double Gloucester with spring onion; and the Cockadilly Chilli, a single Gloucester with chilli.
Look out for: Godsella Mozzarella, a mozzarella-style cheese for pizzas, and Double Date, a double Gloucester with dates which Godsells will be sampling at the market soon…
If you thought the French did the best brie, then you haven’t tried these local award-winning favourites from Simon Weaver. Simon produces a range of three very fine organic, hand-made bries: the plain brie is mild and creamy, soft and buttery; the smoked brie has the subtle hint of smoked applewood while the herb brie is studded with a mix of herbs which peps up the flavour – try it on toast or in a sandwich for a taste that’s just a bit different form the norm.
Look out for: as well as brie, Simon Weaver produces a fabulous Single Gloucester and a mozzarella-style cheese, both Gold award winners at this year’s Taste of the West awards.
One-man band, Jonathan Crump, has achieved extraordinary things with cheese. As a sole producer, he focuses on making the perfect Single and Double Gloucester cheeses and is the only producer to use only milk from Gloucester cattle. Milk from these cows is creamier and higher in fat content than other breeds and boy does it show; Jonathan’s cheeses are both multi award-winners and last year, he was crowned Supreme Champion at the Three Counties Show.
Look out for: Jonathan Crump’s Single Gloucester, made from the full fat milk of Gloucester cattle.
If you’re a fan of goats’ cheese, White Lake Cheese has some interesting offerings including the Rachel, a semi-soft cheese with a sweet, medium flavour; the Eve, a soft goat’s cheese washed in Somerset Cider Brandy and wrapped in a vine leaf and the mild and crumbly White Nancy. At the dairy, goats’ milk is used on four days while Guernsey cows milk is used on one day to make the mild and creamy Bagborough Brie and golden, spongy textured Morn Dew.
Look out for: the Katherine is Rachel’s more complex sister, made using raw milk and washed in Somerset Cider Brandy.
Cheese-maker, Julianna Sedli, honed her craft at famed fromagerie, Neals Yard Dairy in London. She now hand-makes her delicious Baronet cheese at Neston Park Farm in Wiltshire, using organic milk from Jersey cows. The cheese is similar to reblochon, the cheese you find in the Alps, and can vary quite a bit in taste and structure depending on what the cows are being fed in each season. Baronet is rind-washed in brine every three weeks and has a refreshing yet complex flavour – enjoy it with a glass of red wine or a chilled beer or cook one of the mini Baronets whole, studded with rosemary, garlic and thyme.
Look out for: made specially for the Farmers’ Market, Wasabi Pearl is a fresh cheese made with Jersey curd and mixed with a little wasabi. Try it melted onto steaks or with fish dishes.
If you don’t think you like blue cheese, prepare to be proved wrong by the Bath Blue, which beat over 2500 other cheeses to be crowned Supreme Champion in the World Cheese Awards last year. This knockout cheese has a lovely creamy, buttery texture, salty with hints of chocolate and a much more subtle flavour than Stilton. It’s great with a fruity rioja or smooth merlot or cooked on toast with crispy bacon. As well as the blue, this family-run farm produces the creamy camembert-style Bath Soft, with hints of mushroom and lemon, the succulent and nutty, gouda-style Wyfe of Bath and the brie-style Kelston Park with fruity, lemony flavours.
Look out for: you can’t visit the market and not try a Supreme Champion – be warned, you will be converted when you try the Bath Blue!
Award-winning soft goats’ cheese is what you’ll find at Windrush Dairy, produced from a herd of British pedigree Saanan goats. The range includes a pure, unflavoured soft cheese, Herb & Garlic, made with fresh coriander, chive and garlic, a black pepper cheese and feta-type cheeses. Each is subtly different and utterly delicious. The dairy is also famed for its baked cheesecake – a rich yet fresh-tasting cheesecake made with goats’ milk, the perfect after dinner indulgence, bought whole or by the slice. Many market visitors also can’t live without the dairy’s natural goats’ yoghurt, thanks to its concentrated probiotic qualities.
Look out for: the dairy is expanding and Renee and her team are working on producing aged, hard goats’ cheeses in the near future…
It’s a good job these multi-award winning cheeses from this multi-talented dairy are available every week as husband and wife team, Ceri and Chad, struggle to keep up with demand! The cheeses are made with non-homogenised milk from their Fresian herd, the oldest pedigree Fresian herd in the county. Their semi-hard Wiltshire Loaf recently won Gold at the International Cheese Awards, the Brinkworth Blue won Silver at the British Cheese Awards while the Royal Basset Blue was crowned Best Cheese at the Taste of the West awards last year. This is the couple’s newest cheese, and is a bit like a blue brie with lots of complex flavours – try it after dinner with caramelised onion chutney and pears. For something with a bit of edge, try the Garlic and Pepper cheese, a soft, fresh cheese with added seasoning, and a Bronze winner at the British Cheese Awards.
Look out for: Brinkworth Dairy’s delicious cream won Gold at this year’s taste of the West awards and was a contender for the Best Overall Dairy Product. Also take a look at their milk, yoghurt, and depending on the weather, home-made ice cream.