Happy Cheesemas

2016-12-25 08.22.00.jpgSo there we were, having a nice coffee with our eggy-cheesy-bread on Christmas morning; and I had the great idea of adding a little Kahlua. And then a blob of cream. Very festive and got us off to a most enjoyable day. I hope you all had a good time too.

A few days before Christmas we were visiting Glasgow so I took the opportunity to call in 2016-12-15 18.50.18.jpgat Ian Mellis’s cheese emporium. Although there’s a lot of great artisanal cheese made in Scotland, there aren’t many specialist cheese shops; Mellis’s is one of the best, and best-known. I was interested to know how cheesemongers are feeling about the recent ban on Errington’s cheeses being sold. There was a recent outbreak of E.coli 0157, and one of Errington’s cheeses was implicated. The evidence seems to be in dispute, as Errington has had his own lab tests taken, with no traces of E.coli found. Food Standards Scotland is now paying Errington’s legal costs, in an acknowledgement that their actions could easily drive him out of business.

2016-12-15 20.42.40.jpgThe cheese in question is made from raw (unpasteurised) milk. In Scotland, raw milk cannot be sold for drinking purposes, but it’s okay to produce cheese. There are many raw milk cheeses for sale at Mellis’s, and the manager told me that nearly all producers are going forth optimistically, determined to stick with their sublime products. This is reason for rejoicing, I must say, and I applaud their courage in an industry that is being seen as highly risky.

Coincidentally there was a great episode of the Food Programme on Radio 4, compered by Dan Saladino. Entitled ‘The Future of Cheese’, it explored the mysterious bacterial actions that work to give individual cheeses their individual characters. Apparently cheesy traces have been found in Egyptian crocks, 7,500 years old! It’s an amazing story, I urge you to listen to it. I never studied much science back in the day, and am easily befuddled by all the techy lingo. However it seems the scientists haven’t figured it out either! Fabulous, individual, packs-a-punch cheese seems to be a gift from God. Or Geraldine, as I’ve taken to calling Her.

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5 thoughts on “Happy Cheesemas

  1. Interesting article Helen. I have been wondering about the e-coli impact on small, artisanal producers. Life can’t be easy for them. It’s quite a coincidence that you should mention cheesy Christmas because I was given a present of a Big Cheese Making Kit. I am now the proud owner of the equipment and recipes necessary to make eight different types of cheese including Crowdie, Goat’s Cheese and Mozzarella. So that will be an interesting wee venture. I’ll keep you informed of progress.

    1. Oh wow that sounds fantastic! Will be fascinated to hear about it. I’ve been tempted a few times to have a go with a colander and a few J-cloths, and then have changed my mind because I think I don’t have enough space. Don’t forget to take loads of photos. You’ll be needing some nice creative names for your provender?

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