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Gorging on Cheddar

There are a number of food obsessions that often preoccupy the everyday emigrey life. We’ve attended many a Come Dine with Me soiree where the conversation inevitably turns to bacon, ham, pork chops and cheddar cheese. Visa hops to the Isles of Greece are a regular excuse to stock up on pig products and emigreys return from Blighty with trunk loads of larder essentials. Coming to stay? Bring a few bricks of mature cheddar with you. It’s a precious gift worthy of the Three Wise Men.

The French are amused by our national love affair with cheddar which they consider to be an insipid, mass produced atrocity that doesn’t even have to be made in Somerset and is indicative of our immature palate and dreadful cuisine. This Gallic jeer is not without merit but is hardly very entente cordiale. We all know our continental cousins can be insufferably smug, eat anything that moves and speak English behind our backs.

The British are gradually waking up to the glory of cheese in all of its infinite varieties. Small independent cheese shops and delis have sprung up in recent years spreading the word and the pong to the masses. It’s a noble, if smelly, cause that deserves to be supported, particularly during these days of austerity.

Old pal Philip and his partner David own a cheese shop in St Margarets, across the Thames from Richmond in Southwest London. It’s called Yellowwedge Cheese and it’s weathering the recessionary storm remarkably well considering. If you’re in the area pop in and sample their goodies. Philip also writes a food blog called What’s for Tea Tonight, Dear? Liam tried his southern fried chicken recipe and it was finger lickin’ good.

I’ve recently picked up the story of Sussex cheese seller Anthony Hogan. Anthony is married to a Turkish woman called Ayse and writes a weekly tongue in cheese blog. Anthony’s passion is to protect independent traders from the overbearing might of the corporate big boys. I tend to agree with him. Bland carbon copy high streets despoil our towns crushing charm and individuality. Anthony’s campaign has borne fruit and he’s bagged an invite to 10 Downing Street to meet David Cameron. I wish him well. As corporate sponsorship keeps the party political machine turning, he’ll have a fight on his hands. After all, who pays the piper calls the tune.

9 thoughts on “Gorging on Cheddar

  1. I know Yellowwedge, have walked past it many a time. I work in Isleworth, so St Margarets is just down the road. There is a Chinese place (Ewok) a couple of doors down from Yellowwedge which is one of my regular lunchtime haunts.

    I have never got around to popping in to Yellowwedge, I guess I should.

      • I will. Cheese is one of my favorite things and there are so many great cheeses from all over the world. I have another couple of months or so of indulgence in British and French cheese… Then Turkey. I’ll be buying some of the really nice local cheeses from the market. Cheddar will become a thing of the past.

      • Trouble is Turkish cheeses aren’t that brilliant and foreign cheeses are expensive which is why so many people smuggle in a bit a cheddar in their hand luggage.

  2. My very first part-time job was in a cheese shop. It was an American chain, but still, it was an amazing introduction to the world of cheeses. Let people snark about a good cheddar all they’d like. Sometimes it’s the one thing you want.

  3. I always try to shop from local traders either here in Turkey or back home in Blighty.The yoghurt (I have had to train myself not to call it Greek yoghurt in hearing distance of a dear Turkish friend ,she gets very defensive on the subject ) honey and Olive Oil here in Turkey is amazing .
    But for me personally just the pure quality and choice of British cheeses is to our credit and we are too often ready to ‘knock’ our own successes. I now have to bring back cheeses like Oxford Blue or Stiltons for my Turkish friends and I havent ran out yet of different tasters for them to try on each return ,I get to eat most of the beloved cheddar myself . The delis and specialist traders are the best . Thanks for the article Jack ,we should all try to support the little man ,so to speak ,as the saying goes ,good things come in little packages !

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