The cheese counter at Selfridges has long been a Mecca to fromageophiles in central London. The odd month sees the selection wither and there was a time earlier in the year when I thought their cheese buyer didn’t really like cheese very much at all, as the choice was somewhat limited to the stock cheeses you find in most good restaurants.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find that their selection appears to have grown, and in the direction of artisan cheeses that you don’t tend to find elsewhere. I asked the lady at the counter to recommend me something a bit different, a bit ‘out there’. She asked if I’d like to try a Comte. “No, no,” I said, “you clearly don’t know who you’re dealing with. Do you know who I am?! I’m the chap who ate 18 different cheeses at Claridges in one sitting!”
With that Michael Winner-like outburst, she relented and opened the secret box, containing the secret key to the mystical door leading to Cheese Narnia. Behold, dear fromageophiles, the glory:
Appenzeller: This hard Swiss cheese made from cow’s milk is produced in the north east of Switzerland in a region called, funnily enough, Appenzell. The cheese is washed in herbal brine, the ingredients of which vary from producer to producer. The straw-coloured cheese has a fruity, nutty and slightly earthy flavour with lots of tang (depending on the age). It’s very creamy and rubbery for a hard cheese and would make a great addition to any cheese board.
Ubriaco Capra: This is a firm Italian goat’s milk cheese produced by the Perenzin family in the Dolomite Mountains of Veneto. Ubriaco translates as ‘drunken’, and is so named because the cheese is steeped in Traminer grape must, which gives it a wine-like flavour. Tasting notes would include the phrases fruity, sharp and tangy. It is highly recommended with a glass of Prosecco or Valpolicella, but would do equally well with a good port. A fantastic crowd pleasing cheese but something a bit different.
Appenzeller is priced at £2.50 p/100g. Ubriaco Capra is priced at £3.85 p/100g. Both cheeses are available at Selfridges cheese counter and all good cheese merchants. The door to Cheese Narnia is located behind the counter, next to the sign that reads ‘Staff Only’.