Cornwall’s Fresh Cheeses, Cornwall
What is it about Cornwall (and to a certain extent neighbouring Devon ) that leads to the production of such excellent fresh cheeses? Fresh here meaning ready to eat within days of the curds going into their moulds; no rind, generally no pressing, just creamy-squidgy and delicate; great for spreading on biscuits and bread too. Great pasturage of course, but then lots of other areas in Britain have that too. Perhaps it’s one of those things where a centre of excellence grows up around one or two pioneers. Maybe the long tourist season helps shift volumes of the stuff. Whatever the cause, we should be thankful.
That centre of excellence may well be Menallack Farmhouse near Penryn , responsible for a fair proportion of the fresh cheese from Cornwall, using cows’, goats’ and sheep’s cheese and even mixtures of them (its Heligan and Mrs Finn for example using blends of cows’ and sheep’s milks).
For this writer fresh cheese is excepted from personal fatwas against the use of flavourings in cheese, its delicacy sometimes needing a bit of oomph, so long as it is not one from the unnatural supermarket wish-list of ginger, cranberry and mango. Bocaddon Farm near Looe makes what it terms ‘plain naked’ fresh cheese, but goes in for coatings of cracked black pepper, a parsley-rolled version with herbs and garlic, and even one incorporating a decidedly un-British ingredient of olives.
As we move towards lighter diets fresh cheeses may become more significant for the British table: less stomach extending than their riper cousins; suited to sarnies at lunch and salads in the evening. But don’t rule them out of the cheese-board; any good French country restaurant will have one on offer most of the year in its selection, why should we not follow suit?