Chiswick Cheese Market – 3rd Anniversary Sunday May 19

Guest blog by Lucy Cufflin

I can still hear the team saying, ‘Hand sanitiser? mask?’ as people queued through a small entrance in our market boundary. It was 2021 – we started the market under strict Pandemic regulations.

Visitors were counted in and counted out, masks were obligatory, no tasting cheese, no eating or drinking inside the market, no standing still apart from in a queue and most certainly no singing, chatting or just browsing!

We did not know if people would come, and here we are about to celebrate our 3rd birthday and with a huge thank you to you all, we not only survived those strange times, but we have flourished. So, a very Happy Birthday to all of us, volunteers, traders and you, our market visitors alike – we all play our part – ‘Happy 3rd Birthday!’.

Meet the Cheese Market Team here: Chiswick Cheese Market

Donna Freed from the Cheese market talking cheese at Kindred with Zaineb from @basket_press_wines talking wine in March.

Not just cheese …

We are a busy crew away from the market as well.

As a team, we have been leading cheese tasting evenings @londonkindred since March and this month Abi will be chatting about the intriguing world of ‘underground’ cheeses. I can guarantee you will most definitely taste more than one cheese you have never tried before – challenge accepted?

This is not only Abi passing on her broad and deep cheese knowledge but really giving us value for money by using her extensive wine qualifications to pair them with some truly exceptional drinks – what is not to like about that?

Tickets are available on: Eventbrite.co.uk

Matthew O’Callaghan at front instructing judges before judging begins – organiser and major force in artisan food industry

This month I have been judging at www.artisancheeseawards.com held in Melton Mowbray. You’re forgiven for thinking that it is all about pies there, but it’s not; this competition is about Artisan cheese.

Judging the Artisan Cheese Awards

It is not open to any of the big boys of cheese production but the smaller artisan producers, so there are quite a high number of newcomers, which is brilliant. It is also open to Southern Irish cheeses and there was a truly great showing from south of the border and I felt very lucky to be sampling them. A little bit about judging – just in case you are interested…

Firstly, as a judge, you must know your cheese – this is not really about what you like or don’t like, it’s about knowing what a great example of a particular style of cheese is – in exactly the same way in order to know if a Beaujolais is great you have to know the characteristics of the wine to start with.

You must be able to identify faults, errors in both looks and flavour and then admire and enjoy extraordinary flavours and textures that a producer may have been able to achieve in their cheese.

It’s a serious business and I was lucky enough to be judging alongside some of the most experienced palates in the cheese industry. Each cheese is given proper consideration. We tasted, deliberated, discussed, and voted for over 4 hours. Each category puts forward their champion to be judged against the other category champions to find the ‘Supreme Champion’.

To be a great cheese it has to have a great look and texture, mouth feel and above its flavour must be excellent. That’s it really, I guess – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!.. no, seriously after three years of study I am thrilled to be part of the cheese judging community.

The results are announced at The Artisan Cheese Fair next weekend. I’ll be there on Saturday as it is a spectacle well worth visiting and back to Chiswick for our market on Sunday – double cheese this weekend for me!

More info meltonfestivals.co.uk

Introducing ‘the Mother of all Bries’

So back to ‘’Cheesewick’ and our birthday market…

I am so excited that @thefrenchcomte will be bringing a very special cheese – Brie de Melun. This is the original Brie – this is the first Brie – this is the mother of all Bries.

Made with a longer fermentation period and hardly any rennet, this is an extraordinary pungently flavoured, creamy textured, almost rudely unctuous cheese made with raw cow’s milk. Like Brie de Meaux? If yes then OMG you are in for such a treat! It’s on my shopping list early so I don’t miss out.

Why not have a birthday splurge and get one of our bespoke Cheesewick tea towels or the Prada bag of cheese – a Cheesewick Tote to carry your purchases this month? All profits go into our charity funds.

And…

You’ve heard of Real Ale and Real Food … This is the Real Cheese Project

Introducing @therealcheeseproject. We are very excited to be on board with the launch of a brand-new cheese resource set up with the Cheese lover in mind – not only telling you about the cheeses and the producers but where you can buy near you and offering wonderful subscriptions to help you taste your way through the world of British Artisan Cheese.

They are hosting the first round of The People’s Choice Territorial Cheese competition at our market THIS SUNDAY, 19 May (what a thrill) and you are the judges! So come along to the market, log in, taste cheese and vote.

It’s as simple as that – a different category every 30 minutes so stay for a while and be the judge of more than one style of cheese from Cheddar to Red Leicester, from Caerphilly to Lancashire. The ones we all think are the best will go forward to the next round at our market in July (watch this space for news about that event as there are some very special judges coming along!)

Trader Spotlight

Our monthly insight into one of our traders at the market.

James Grant from No 2 Pound Street (and now The Real Cheese Project) and needs no introduction for most of you, but here is his story…

James enjoyed a career working in some of the greatest restaurants and hotels alongside some of the best of the best restaurateurs, allowing him to sample pretty much the most excellent cheeses out there. He fell in love with good cheese and when the opportunity came to open his own cheese and wine shop he leapt at the chance.

15 years on, No 2 Pound Street in Wendover, goes from strength to strength. James does not see his job as a career but simply sharing his love and respect for very special food.

James stocks excellent wines and procures his cheeses solely from the British Isles – chosen for their taste and their ethical and sustainable production. The shop offers cheese tastings and events in and around their ageing room. No 2 Pound Street is truly the complete package when it comes to a cheese monger!

James was one of the very first training partners at the Academy of Cheese and is one of the trainers who is helping form the next levels of cheese training programs.

When I asked him about why ‘The Real Cheese Project’, he answered simply that he wants to shout about ‘real cheese’ – over 95% of cheese produced in the UK is factory made without the same level of consideration as Artisan made cheeses.

He wants to help swing the pendulum towards artisan production and wants to be a force in educating us all in that direction. ‘The Real Cheese Project’ aims to champion the very best cheese makers and retailers throughout the UK.

James has recently become a huge advocate for farmers who look after their soil and land and wants to help us understand that the ‘terroir’ plays such an important part in the production of good food.

So, what can I say about James – he’s a pretty ‘big cheese’ in the world of cheese and his heart is very firmly with the Artisan producers and retailers in UK – we are honoured to have had him at our market from day 1 and long may it continue!

Recipe of the Month

Trabzon-Style Pide with Cheese and an Egg Yolk
Sebze by Ozlem Warren (Hardie Grant, £28) Photography by Sam A Harris.

Instagram: @ozlems_turkish_table

Makes 2

 This is such a delicious pide – oozy, buttery, melted cheese over soft pide with an egg cracked over – a dish you can eat all day long. The Black Sea region is famous for their variety of pides – almost every city has their own specialty pide and this Trabzon yağlı pide stands out for me. It has only a handful of ingredients and the result is such a treat. Follow a few key steps carefully and you will be making this scrumptious pide again and again.

  • 7 g (1 sachet) instant dry yeast
  • 185 ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 300 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cubed, plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 120 g Trabzon’s kolot cheese, grated (although we don’t have this cheese at our market this month but @maltbyandgreek will be bringing Tinos Graviera and this would be an excellent cheese to use)
  • 200 g mozzarella, grated

Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well, cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Create a well in the middle and pour in the frothy yeast mixture. Knead with your hands for 2–3 minutes to bring the dough together.

Place the dough onto a clean, dry, lightly floured surface. Add the cubed butter to the dough and knead well for another 2–3 minutes until you achieve a smooth dough ball.

Lightly oil the mixing bowl, place the dough in, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and a dish towel. Leave in a warm place to prove for 30 minutes.

After this period, punch back the dough and knead. Divide into two equal dough balls.  Place them back into the bowl, cover and prove for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C fan/220C//gas 7. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Once the dough is risen, place one of the dough balls on a lightly floured surface, keeping the other covered. Stretch the dough into a thin, round shape, about 27 cm in diameter. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the other dough and place on the other baking sheet.

Separate the whites of the eggs into a bowl, carefully placing the whole yolks on a plate nearby. Transfer one of the yolks to a small bowl and add the teaspoon of olive oil to this yolk and combine well. Brush a 3 cm band of egg white around the edges of both dough circles and fold in the dough edges to create a 2 cm border. Press well so that edges stick to the dough – the brushed egg white will help seal them.

Brush the borders of both pide with the egg yolk mixture. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of water over the middle part of each dough and brush to cover the whole middle part (the water will prevent it puffing up).

Bake both pide for 8 minutes until the edges are golden.

Remove from the oven and spread half of the two cheeses on each pide evenly. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of water all round the middle part and dot over a few small dabs of butter.

Bake for a further 7 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and create a little dent in the middle of each pide. Carefully slide an egg yolk into each hollow. Bake for a final 1–2 minutes, making sure the yolk is still runny.

Serve immediately.

Gosh that was a lot for one month’s blog! I guess it’s true to say that from our constrained beginnings during the pandemic The Chiswick Cheese Market has really grown into a force bigger than we could have imagined.

Over the three years we have donated thousands of pounds to charity and in sponsorship to the Artisan Cheese industry, we believe that we have brought many visitors to our neighbourhood, we have become an established voice in the cheese industry (even had a mention on National TV on The Apprentice) and hopefully have given locals a great place to visit once a month and share happy times with friends and family whilst tasting and buying some exceptional cheeses. In short, I think we have really brought cheese home to Cheesewick! See you on Sunday!

READ ALSO: The Apprentice comes to Chiswick

A full list of traders can be found at www.chiswickcheesemarket.uk