16 April 2007


We are hungry for fromageOur latest cheese selection comes from our ex-pat correspondent and British Isle cheese expert: Fontina Turner. This cheese hales from Wales, near the mouth of the Severn river. Caerphilly is a raw cow's milk fromage that matures extremely quickly (just three weeks or less). During the 19th century it was hugely popular with Welsh miners. It has a high salt content and is rumored to absorb inhaled toxins from the mines. A common miner lunch was Caerphilly wrapped up in cabbage leaves. Beige on the inside, gray on the outside, it also features a natural rind. You should always purchase Caerphilly directly from a wheel, not pre-sliced, so as to prevent excessive dryness. It will also dry up quickly on you, so never keep it on hand for more than a week.

Caerphilly is great example of the global struggle against processed cheeses. Although considered a pedestrian cheese, after a brief stint of mass production and bastardization of the name, it is now possible to get authentic Caerphilly from many smaller producers in Wales. This fromage should be available at finer cheese shops.

A Jenkin's cheese-storage footnote: "Cheese is best stored in the refrigerator as close to the bottom of the appliance as possible - the vegetable compartment is ideal." You should wrap up the cheese to allow it to breath and continue to age. Also it is OK to store many cheeses together. They will not contaminate each other...