I’m traveling to the UK. What cheese do I need to try?
For anyone visiting the UK, especially for the first time, a West Country Cheddar is an absolute must-try! I recommend one from Keen’s or Montgomery’s, preferably aged around 14-18 months. Of course, another classic is a blue Stilton. I like the one from Colston Bassett, with its richness giving way to the steely blue veins, and Stichelton, the raw milk version by cheesemaker Joe Schneider.
I would also recommend you look out for the new wave of young cheesemakers stepping into the spotlight. One such name is Martin Gott. He makes a Taleggio-style washed rind ewe’s milk cheese called St James named after the late great pioneer of British washed rind cheeses James Aldridge. His latest cheese, Juno, is also a ewe’s milk cheese with a washed/rubbed rind that’s more dense and crumbly. The flavors are sweet, earthy, floral, and welcoming to a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir alongside.
Each region of the UK can be identified by its cheese—much like the rest of Europe. If you’re in London visiting Borough Market, do look out for award-winning Edmund Tew by Blackwoods Cheeses in Kent. If you are heading out towards the beautiful Cotswolds, look for local cheeses Sinodun Hill made by Rachel Yarrow and Fraser Norton, from their own herd of goats and using a thistle rennet to give a lovely nutty freshness to the flavors; as well as award-winning Rollright, a rich, mellow, and melting washed rind cow’s milk cheese made by David Jowett.
Special thanks to Patricia Michelson, founder and director of La Fromagerie in London for answering this question!