I am a cheese lover, the smellier the better, I love the mouth feel, the flavour and the contrast of the soft cheese with a crisp, salty cracker. It reminds me of dinner parties and pub lunches, sunny day picnics and a Christmas Day feast.
This week we took part in an activity that was right up my street, cheese and wine tasting. Cheese and wine are a match made in heaven; they complement each other so well.
We got together in the lounge, made ourselves comfortable and waited for the team to arrive with the treats.
We were not disappointed. There was a wonderful selection of cheeses; traditional British cheeses such as Stilton and Cheddar, there was Camembert and Brie from France and some tasty Swiss Emmental. The tray was laden with grapes and chutney, apples and nuts and of course an assortment of biscuits both sweet and savoury.
While we sat back and ate our fill we were regaled with stories of the history of cheese. The art of cheesemaking is believed to have originated between 7000 & 8000 years ago in the Middle East. Milk carried in goatskin containers made from the lining of the goat’s stomach, curdled due to the natural rennet in the skin separating the milk into curds and whey. Evidence of cheesemaking was discovered on Egyptian tomb murals from 4000 years ago and there is even mention of cheese in Greek mythology. It is fair to say that people have been enjoying cheese for a very long time.
Cheesemaking began in the UK around 2000 years ago, the first cheeses were produced in and around Cheshire and Lancashire by peasant farmers and in monasteries. The history of cheese is fascinating. and it was so lovely to spend an afternoon learning all about it whilst tasting some wonderful cheeses, washed down with a glass of wine or two.
The wines we were served were expertly selected to pair with the cheese; it was quite an eye opener for many of us how certain wines enhance the flavours of the cheeses so perfectly.
The afternoon was the perfect combination of fine food, great company and stimulating conversation. It was wonderful.