A great evening with a talk followed by cheese tasting from Robert Christie who sells cheese on Fakenham, Dereham and Swaffham markets
Robert has been selling cheese since 1985 when it was hard to obtain good quality English local cheeses on a reliable basis and there were no cheese makers in Norfolk. Things have now improved greatly and there are now more varieties of cheese made in England than France and several Norfolk cheese makers. Robert has a stall on Fakenham Market on Thursdays, Dereham Market on Fridays and Swaffham market on Saturdays
We were given 4 excellent cheeses to taste and details of these and some other Norfolk cheeses are given below
The first two cheeses are made by Ellie Betts at Ferndale Farm Little Barningham.
Norfolk Dapple is a cheddar like cheese made by traditional methods including cheddaring of the curds and wrapping in cheesecloth with butter. It is firm but moist with a mild but very distinctive flavour. A variant is Ruby Dapple which is marbled with port and matured for longer.
Next was Norfolk Tawny, a younger cheese semi-hard in character with a soft edible mould rind produced by daily turning and weekly washing in strong Norfolk ale.
The third cheese was Wensum White, a soft goats cheese which has only been produced since 2013 and in 2014 won silver in its class at the World Cheese Awards and was one of the 64 best cheeses at the show. It is produced by Sam Steggles at Fielding Cottage. Other cheeses produced by him are Ellingham, a young feta like cheese and Norfolk Mardler a hard, moist and creamy cheese with an excellent flavour and less of a goaty tang.
The final cheese was Binham Blue, produced by Mrs Temple at Wighton. It is a soft blue veined cheese wit tha pronounced but not strong flavour.
Other cheeses produced by Mrs Temple are: Wighton, a young curd cheese similar to an old Colwick cheese, Melton, a mozzarella made from cows milk, Walsingham, a lighter cheese between a Caerphilly and a cheddar, Wells Alpine with hints of Gruyere, Copys Cloud a rich brie like cheesse and Gurney Gold, a wonderful mix of styles and flavours.
Other cheeses stocked by Robert are Poppylots - a young sheeps milk cheese, Norfolk White Lady a ewesmilk brie type cheese, Wissington a hard yet creamy cheese and Deopham Bluewe all produced by Jayne Murray at Deopham
Chalmers, a really good feta type cheese, Norfolk Charm, a Wensleydale type and Millstone Blewe, a moist creamy and potentially strong blue, all produced by Ellie Chalmers at Bircham Mill.