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.