CityMag prepares for Cheesefest’s much-anticipated arrival in Rymill Park this weekend by sorting the blues from the brie.
How to… cheese
Cheese can be complex – there’s so many textures, tastes and smells all packed into something that is essentially milk gone awry.
Cheesefest is on this weekend – October 25th & 26th – at Rymill Park.
“Cheesefest brings the Regions into the city – it’s a great platform for people to be able to experience and try cheeses they haven’t tried before,” says festival founder Kris Lloyd.
We understand that all you really need to know about cheese is that it’s delicious and a good reason to keep on living. But, just in case you wanted to intersperse your mouthfuls of delight with some knowledgeable chat, we’ve gone ahead and prepared this guide to cheese basics with the help of Cheesefest founder and Woodside Cheese Wright manager Kris Lloyd.
Perhaps the most well-known of the cheeses, the best known soft varieties include brie and camembert. “I quite like these when they’re ripe and runny, especially artisan varieties which are made to traditional recipes rather than stabilized – they’re going to get a lot more runny and gooey,” says Kris. As well as being a popular addition to cheese platters, Kris recommends cutting the tops off, stuffing with garlic, chilli and herbs, and baking. Need we say more – we hope not, because we might drool a little if we have to open our mouths right now.
Fresh cheese is the simplest form of cheese – think goats curd, chèvre and ricotta. “Fresh cheeses lend themselves to cooking above the rest of the other cheeses,” says Kris. Whether it be smeared on crusty bread with a bit of olive oil, added to your favourite salad, or crumbled on a pasta dish, this is definitely a cheese staple.
To begin with, blue cheese is well…um, slightly blue in colour, and quite strong in smell and taste. Another great cheese for cooking, Kris says blue varieties are perfect in risottos – “These are beautiful to run through risottos, blue cheese and mushroom has to be one of my all-time favourites.” For those after a bit more bite on their cheese board, blue is a great addition, especially when accompanied with honey.
These staples cheeses include the things that may well be sitting in your fridge right now – cheddars and parmigiano reggianos, cheeses which are usually quite hard and strong in flavour. “They are hard because they’ve aged and a lot of moisture has been taken out during the cheese making process,” explains Kris. This firmness makes them a perfect grating cheese, or as Kris says, “visit Italy and you’ll always find one as a table cheese”. Yes, please.
Not to be messed with, washed rind is one of the cheesiest of the varieties and generally favoured by serious cheese aficionados. “These are a bit stinky, which happens through physically washing the cheese – they’re scrubbed with a brush, and rubbed with a cloth,” says Kris. But, according to Kris, their bark is more than their bite and they are an essential ingredient on any good cheese board.