Blue Vinny

Cheese is such a staple food, and can be used in so many different ways, and has an infinite number of varieties from a variety of different types of milk that I think I could never become bored with it. There seems to be so many processes to go through in order to make it – and make it successfully (and I know because I have tried and not found it easy at all!) that it amazes me that it has been made for so many thousands of years, perhaps as many as eight thousand years ago!

We are so lucky her in England and the British isles that we have such a wide variety of cheese which are made by what are now called ‘artisan’ cheese-makers; there are many new varieties, some have been inspired by cheeses from other countries such as feta, or brie, but there are experimental cheesemakers producing lovely stuff with original flavours and textures and using a variety of new processes.

There are so many wonderful traditional cheeses too… and living near Cheddar Gorge we know all about traditional cheese! People who have never tasted a real Cheddar cheese might be surprised at the flavour of it, the almost grainy texture, and with a smell which is reminiscent of a farmyard (that might not sound appetising, but when you realise that the smell tells you that you are in for a treat, you will soon seek it out!) When we first moved to the west country we were also introduced to a rare cheese, which at that time was only made by a couple of farmers; there was a little cheese shop, which I think was run by a Mr Haynes, and you would go in and in a low discreet voice ask if there was any Blue Vinny. It seemed a strange name, but now I wonder if it was a corruption of veiny… because it was a blue cheese. it was quite soft with a smooth, delicate but distinctive flavour and came from Dorset. I think it almost died out but with the revival of interest in English and British cheese it is now in production again, but it never tastes quite like it did when we bought it from Mr Haynes.

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