Cheesy Greetings from the Cheese Cellar
Over the past few months, our cheesemongers have been kept busy with the day to day care and running of our maturation space. Tivoli has taken a moment to write a quick update about what has been happening down the spiral staircase, in our underground cheese cave.
In late March we received a delivery of a couple of thousand kilograms of hard and semi hard cheeses from Europe, with a focus on French and Swiss Alpine wheels. We hold our hard maturation cellar at a temperature of 12 degrees and 99% humidity — the optimal conditions to age cheese for perfect ripeness and flavour. It's a welcome new home for the wheels after their long journey, and a great workout, each of them weighing up to 40kg each.
Every few days we give our cheeses a spa treatment — scrubbing the rinds with a soft bristled brush, and then washing them with a carefully balanced salt brine. This keeps the rinds moist and the zoo of (good) bacteria living there happy. We watch these cheeses carefully, waiting for the signs that they are ready to go, before cutting them open. Once ready, we take a moment to savour the taste and aroma of a freshly opened and perfectly ripe wheel of cheese. There’s nothing quite like it. Finally we cut them into portions to stock our shelves, for you to enjoy at home.
We are making the most of sourcing soft cheese from some of our favourite local producers as importing them from Europe has proven difficult during this time. Keep an eye out for stunning cheeses from Prom Country, Holy Goat and Butterfly Factory. The animals are grazing on luscious, prized Spring grass which gives a beautiful freshness to the cheese, so these local finds are tasting their best.
Nothing beats coming down and chatting with the experts. We miss being able to talk face to face with our customers. Guiding you through the at times overwhelming range of cheeses on our benches is one of the highlights of the job. I miss seeing faces light up when descending our spiral staircase for the first time, I miss introducing young kids to the joys of stinky blue cheeses, I miss mediating couples arguing about which cheese they will get that weekend (Both. The answer is always to get both.) I miss sharing an exciting new wheel with regulars who want to try everything. It’s these moments taken for granted that I miss the most, so we are taking great care to stock our upstairs fridges and website, with something for everyone. We are cutting new cheeses fresh every day to ensure each piece we sell tastes just the way we want it to.