Good Food Blog
Say cheesePosted at 11:45AM, 23 September 2008 by Emily Boyce - Sub-editor, bbcgoodfood.com
It began as a private vice, the odd packet picked up on the way home, transported in a paper bag and hastily consumed behind closed doors. With rather too many crackers.
Strange for someone who ate only mild cheddar as a child, I've become a cheese fanatic. And so too, it seems, have many of my friends.
My housemate, Alex, often party to my late-night snaffling sessions, rang me to share a piece of news - the discovery of a rather excellent cheese and wine bar not far from her place of work, just off the Strand. A date was set, and down the steps to this basement den of cheesy iniquity we went, accompanied by two other gorgonzola-gobbling gals. Having polished off a fine platter of squidgy Bries, sharp blues and creamy goats, plus a bottle or two of red wine, we found ourselves in need of a further fix, and off we waddled to another underground cheese parlour, favourite haunt of American tourists, Gordon's wine bar .
"We should do this more often", said one contented fromageophile. "Let Tuesday become Cheeseday".
It takes some days before the scent of Camembert is entirely eradicated from the living room
Well, not every Tuesday, we decided. We need to give our waistbands a chance before they're pushed to the limit again. So it was to be every other week - sometimes trying new establishments recommended to us around London (the cheese room at Vivat Bacchus was a particular hit - we took it in turns to go in and pick out the finest specimens, noting our selections in Alex's diary before handing it to the slightly bemused waiter), sometimes bringing choice cheeses to each others' homes - the downside of which, we discovered, is that it takes some days before the scent of Camembert is entirely eradicated from the living room.
Now if there's anything we like more than cheese, it's free cheese, so Alex and I were delighted to get the chance last week to attend a PR event at South Ken's 'cheese cave', La Cave à Fromage . The owner had scouted out the shop, picking it out for its large glass frontage, giving passers-by the best vantage point from which to admire his range. "The ladies are getting more and more keen on cheese", he said, "and not just the mild ones, the full-bodied ones too". Alex and I exchanged a knowing glance.
Along with a little board of cheeses, of which the best by popular agreement was a sweet Kentish ewes' milk variety called Lord of the Hundreds, particularly good with a blob of fig jam, we were served an alcoholic drink, whose identity was kept secret. A white port, perhaps? A sherry of some kind? No, it was in fact a Scottish product , roughly as alcoholic as wine, but made using the whey from the cheese-making process. From that point onwards, I was sure I caught a whiff of feet every time I lifted the glass to my mouth. I'm not sure that cheesy wine will catch on.
My boyfriend is disgusted at our habit. What we see as a delicacy to be savoured, he sees as a big lump of artery-clogging fat. He can't fathom the appeal of blobs of blue mould. And the smell.. well, on that point, who can blame him.
It is indeed a rather unhealthy practice - we groan all the way home and vow not to eat quite so much next time. But, can it do any great harm to have a little bit of what you fancy once in a while - or specifically, every second Tuesday?
Do you have a food vice? And do you have any suggestions for where our next Cheeseday should be held?