The joy of cheese rolling

It’s unnerving being surrounded by a crowd in the woods. You can hear people but only glimpse their limbs or faces through the leaves. It triggers something primordial, similar to the feeling of being watched. Ideally, someone with a big strimmer would have given Cooper’s Hill a good going over before the cheese rolling. But cheese rollers don’t concern themselves with ideals.  My friends were shocked by the brutal pitch of the hill. Could someone really hurl themselves down that? On the last Monday of May, and for reasons lost to time, a wheel of Double Gloucester is thrown down the hill and a group of runners throw themselves after

What should be on your Christmas cheeseboard?

No overindulgent gourmand worth his salt fails to own a stilton scoop. Mine has a bone handle and Mappin & Webb silver plate. It has an ingenious contraption to release the cylindrical pellet of cheese: a bit like those retro ice cream scoops that, with a little squeeze, crack like a whip, the metal slicing under ice as vicious as a mousetrap. My stilton scoop is gentler. One releases the mouldy blue at one’s own pace, until it falls sensuously on to the plate. It is used just once a year, at Christmas, like the cookie-cutter and the nut-cracker. Why this extended detour about a kitchen utensil? Because one cannot

How to create the perfect cheeseboard

The cheeseboard is, arguably, the highlight of any dinner, but there’s an art to crafting a delectable selection. From selecting the right cheeses and serving them at their best to the ensuring a balanced pairing of sundries and sippers, the craft of the cheeseboard is a skill to learn. It’s time to do away with whipping out a Stilton wheel straight from the fridge. We asked top cheese experts, Hero Hirsh and Sam Wilkin, about the do’s and don’ts of Christmas cheese eating: How much cheese should you serve? As a rule, around 100g-150g per person should be plenty, but keep in mind that buying generously ensures your stock will

Why you can’t trust supermarket cheese

We were celebrating the end of lockdown by talking about war and deer stalking — over a business lunch, naturally. My friend David Mathew, from a distinguished legal, military and political family, told a story about Churchill’s arrival in Athens at Christmas in 1944. David’s father, Robert, then a young officer, was sent to meet the great man, who was grumpy and preoccupied, with good reason. He had come to save Greece from communism, with little guarantee of help from the Americans, let alone left-wing opinion in Britain. The sucking-up to ‘Uncle Joe’ Stalin may have been necessary to win the war. It would not be helpful for winning the