Cornish food: After Yarg, Brie and Davidstow, here’s Helford White cheese
How refreshing to come across a Cornish cheese that isn’t Yarg, Brie or Davidstow cheddar during British Cheese Week. Not that I have anything against these cheeses – I received a nice parcel from Davidstow only this morning (review next week) and I especially like the wild garlic-wrapped Yarg – but they dominate the landscape. And I love to see the little man and woman do well as well.
So it was great to come across this simply excellent cheese at the Cornwall Food and Drink Festival. Especially as the event was just days after the South West scooped (should that be sliced?) four out of ten gongs at the British Cheese Awards.
Made on the backs of the Helford river by Treveador Farm Dairies near Helston in West Cornwall I nearly didn’t even try it. I was going around the food marquee the wrong way (there was a general anti-clockwise theme) as usual and it was heaving. I managed to get close to the stall and nab a morsel of their blue cheese, Blue Horizon, made from the same cows in the same cheesery (is that even a word?).
I tried it and to be honest I was going to move on. Not that the blue was bad, but I am a fan of strong salty blue cheeses that’ll knock your block off. This was a soft and creamy blue cheese in the style of dolcelatte. Very good, but not really my style. Ah, the fickleness of the reviewer. If you like soft and gentle blues give it a whirl, it was very good.
But I then spied its stablemate, this rind-washed white cheese. Well, while I am here, I thought, being a greedy bugger.
And blow me if it wasn’t absolutely fantastic. Strong and almost astringent where the blue had been soft and gentle it was a proper cheese, not some namby-pamby mild-flavoured mouth warmer. I loved the fact that people were making cheese with a stronger flavour when the market seems, to me at least, to be going the other way.
Checking the company website, it says the cheese has a five-week shelf life. Not in my fridge! It was great with a salad, on toast and would have melted nicely as a snack for two as well. It comes in two sizes, 100g and 200g (approx). The bigger of the two set me back £4.50 at the show.
It’s a great Cornish story behind the cheese as well. Set up by a husband and wife team, Alastair Rogers and Bernadette Newman (who sound like showbiz to me) four years ago on land farmed by Alastair’s family for decades they have been going from strength to strength. Last year they had to expand their operation on the site on land that runs down to the locally famous Frenchmans Creek. And with cheeses like these it isn’t hard to see why.
Tomorrow: An accompaniment to the cheese…