Monday, 18 January 2010

Che - three letters that start a revolution

Week 3

The snow has melted - hurrah! But it's all gone very grey - boo!

Christmas seems like a long long time ago and we're struggling with those New Year's resolutions... so stuff that idea and start enjoying life again with something nice!

Food of the Week

Stichelton cheese

To the normal eye, this stuff looks like Stilton, smells like Stilton and tastes like an amazingly fantastic Stilton but those three extra letters 'che' make all the difference and are creating a revolution of their own!

It's not a Stilton. Stilton refers to the cheese that we know and love that only six dairies across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire are licensed to produce using locally produced, pasteurised milk according to EU law.

Stichelton is different. It's still made in Nottinghamshire but the main difference is that it uses 'raw' unpasteurised organic milk (as many traditional English cheeses used to be made). Because of the 'raw' milk, it has to be called something different and so the name Stichelton was chosen - the ancient name of Stilton town as per the Domesday Book.

So what's the difference?

I bought some for Christmas and found it a much softer, creamier cheese than you would expect from a Stilton, still with a strong and distinctive tang from the blue mould and an exceptionally long aftertaste. Everyone loved it, remarked on it's 'delicious-ness' and it disappeared very quickly!
Try it and I'm sure you'll agree this is in a different league.

Best Way to Serve

So there's not much left from Christmas now, but there's definitely a few of us who are stockpiling the Christmas cake! Brighten up a January evening with a chunk of Stichelton, a hunk of Christmas cake and a large glass of port or red wine.

For a slightly healthier option and in tune with the seasons, try a salad of chopped chicory, sliced apple, crumbled Stichelton and some walnuts, topped with a simple vinaigrette.

A little known fact...

Britain now boasts around 700 varieties of cheese – 100 more varieties than France produces, and twice as many as Italy*.

Where can I buy it and what's it going to do to my bank balance?

Borough Market (in the new Jubilee Market section), open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Neals Yard Dairy: Covent Garden and London Bridge, open Mondays to Saturdays

Price: £23.50 for 1kg so about a fiver for a substantial chunk

Restaurant of the Week

32 Great Queen Street

This week's choice is 32 Great Queen Street on...surprise suprise! 32 Great Queen Street between Covent Garden and Holborn tube stations
There is no website so you'll have to call them to book a table on 020 7242 0622

Why is it good?
1) It's a great location
2) It's all about great British food and seasonal produce
3) It's relaxed and it's not too expensive and you can get a good range of wines by the glass and by the carafe too

It's like the best gastro pub you've been to, up a level, in a comfortable, seated environment without the pub bit. Almost like a British version of a Paris brasserie without the old men drinking Pastis. Around £30-40 per head.

Try the rib of beef for two with twice cooked chips. They insist (understandably) on serving it rare so prepare yourself to be like a caveman for the time it takes to finish it off. They also have great fish and vegetarian dishes on offer.

*Source: Julia Harbutt, organiser of British Cheese Awards

Great Queen Street on Urbanspoon

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