Each year, our cheesemonger eagerly awaits the arrival of the British… cheese that is. We carry five standouts from the UK and two from Ireland, all from the incomparable Neal's Yard Dairy. Their company opened in 1979, that same year Elephants was founded, and started as a small producer of Greek style yoghurt, Crème fraîche and fresh cheeses. Over the years they were approached by cheesemakers from around the British Isles, and thus began the adventure of sampling, storing and maturing an incredible variety of farm produced cheeses. Neal's Yard Creamery – their sister company started in 1990 – still makes several fresh cheeses and yoghurt, and the Dairy now buys cheese from about seventy cheesemakers on farms around Britain and Ireland. We'd like to introduce some of our favorites to you.
Appleby's Cheshire is the last traditionally made, clothbound, unpasteurized Cheshire – a cow's milk cheese with a moistly flaky and crumbly texture. The flavors are savory and mineral, with a clean cool milky tang.
Colston Bassett Stilton is from one of the smallest Stilton dairies in the United Kingdom. This pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is made by hand ladling the curds, which preserves the structure and results in a luscious, creamy texture at maturity. Colston Bassett features a rich, mineral tang and buttery texture, along with full strong flavor that is neither overpowering nor sharp. You'll find it's mellow, fruity, deep and savory.
Coolea is a fantastic pasteurized cow’s milk offering from County Cork, Ireland. With a smooth and close-textured body, the flavors are complex and mouth-filling. Usually sweet and rich, you'll discover hints of hazelnuts, butterscotch and honey, but you may also find a long-lasting nuttiness with a savory edge.
Crozier Blue is another delicious offering from Ireland, with a creamy salty taste, and toasted, roasted nut aromas. These pasteurized sheep’s milk cheeses are made with milk from the cheesemaker's cousin's flock of Friesland sheep and are brined in enormous tubs bought off ships.
Lincolnshire Poacher offers up rich, long lasting flavor with sweet nutty notes and a sharp tang that sometimes hints at pineapples. But the strangest thing about it is that it's made a long way from Somerset – the home of traditional English cheddars. This unpasteurized cow’s milk “cheddar style” cheese has a texture that is smooth, close, dense and creamy.
Shropshire Blue sounds like a very old traditional cheese, but it was invented in the 1930s. It's effectively a Stilton with a lovely orange color, courtesy of annatto coloring. This creamy, savory cheese has a slight yeasty bite. Made with pasteurized cow’s milk and animal rennet this blue offers a more structure consistency and cool creaminess which vegetable rennet cheeses lack.
Ticklemore is the goat’s milk cheese of the bunch, and offers a light, gentle, floral, herby and ice-creamy cool with a moist crumbling texture. The flavors are influenced by the goats being encouraged to graze the pastures and the hedgerows on the edge of Dartmoor.