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Macknade Fine Foods

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Happy Accidents

When cheese goes wrong… but oh so right!

Have you ever forgotten to do something or made an error, but managed to get away with it or ‘style it out’?

A recent addition to our cheese counter has got me thinking about cheese making. Making cheese, in theory, is relatively straightforward, but when creating your flavours, even the very slightest of adjustments to the process changes the taste.  Master cheese makers learn to control their recipes to produce great tasting, and consistent flavours – but even they can make mistakes sometimes…

Wigmore has been a staple of Macknade’s sheep cheese selection for a number of years now – this English cheese is soft with a white rind evoking a slightly sweet yet meaty taste. The aforementioned recent addition to our counter is Riseley; considered the cousin of Wigmore, as it is essentially “Wigmore gone wrong”!

One fateful day in 2014, a batch of Wigmore was sent out without the penicillium rind by accident – instead of throwing it away, the maturation team at Neal’s Yard decided to work with the cheese, rind washing it in brine and water over a four week period to produce Riseley!

This is not the first time cheese has been created by mistake – in fact another sheep cheese, the iconic French Roquefort was born from an accident…

The legend goes that a young shepherd was sat in the Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulz eating a simple sandwich of bread and sheep’s curd, only to be distracted by a passing beautiful fair maiden. Abandoning his lunch, he sought to pursue the young girl; no one knows for sure whether he successfully woo-ed her, but what we do know is that upon his return some time later, the bread had become mouldy and the curd had been transformed – this was the birth of Roquefort cheese.

It was a particular type of bacteria that created the mould (penicillium roqueforti), specific to the region, and to this day Roquefort is still made in those same caves.  Much like Champagne or Stilton cheese, the name Roquefort is protected, and only used by a few select producers.

It’s possible to visit some of the caves, and many people enjoy having a tour; learning more about this quintessential French cheese, and perhaps even have a taste! Should you however not have any plans to head to the South of France any time soon, why not pop to the cheese counter at the Macknade deli and try some of our Roqueforts (yes – we have two!)…

 

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