Chiswick Cheese Market – Sunday 16 June

Guest blog from Chsiwick Cheese Market

As a regular reader you will already know that the Cheese Market team run the market as volunteers and the profits are donated to charity or ploughed back into the Artisan Cheese Industry – well, what you might not know is that one of the events we sponsor is ‘The Affineur of The Year’.

‘Affinage’ is the French term for maturing and looking after cheese once it’s been made. This may include washing the rind with alcohol, it might be moving it from one temperature storage to another – lower to slow the maturation, higher to bring it on, or change the humidity to help the cheese mature differently.

It is a real science, and many traditional recipes have very set maturing patterns, but sometimes it is open to experimentation and the results can, occasionally, be utterly amazing!

In the UK we have a competition each year offering four different cheeses for competitors to mature in their own way. The Cheese Market sponsors the Cheddar maturing competition and each of the competitors received their 2 week-old, Quickes Cheddar a whole year ago. On the 12th of this month the cheeses will be judged by some pretty auspicious judges, and we will be there lapping up the atmosphere of this extraordinary cheese event.

Quickes kept one of the exact same batch aside and matured it in their own ‘caves’ – this acts as a ‘control’, but the competitors are allowed to do anything they like with their cheeses.

Some will stay traditional, but some like Andy from the Courtyard Dairy in Yorkshire has been doing something very different indeed with his cheese this year.

Hold on a moment, I’m just going to set the scene here by telling you about Drunk Cheese. We all know lovely Max from @drunk_cheese who brings an assortment of differently macerated cheeses to our market each month (gin lovers try the ‘Blugin’ it’ll blow your mind) and the history of this style of cheese is fascinating.

It started in Italy during the first World War. Local cheesemakers hid their cheese from the greedy eyes of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers by tucking them under the pomace (the skins of the grapes left in the barrel after winemaking).

The barrels were obviously empty of wine at that point so of no interest to the soldiers and the cheeses remained hidden beneath the old skins. Of course, this made a very big difference to the flavour and texture of the cheese once it was released from its hidey-hole and so the art of ‘Drunk Cheese’ began. It’s not a gimmick it has its feet firmly underground in the world of real Artisan cheese – who knew?

So, where was I? ah yes, our Cheddar competition – well, Andy at the Courtyard Dairy has decided that he will give his Cheddar a bit of the same treatment, but instead of using grapes which are not local to him he is using the leftover apple skins from his neighbouring cider makers.

I for one cannot wait to try this and guess what – so can you! We are hoping to bring a large chunk of Andy’s cheese and other entries back from the competition, so that you can decide which you think was the best. Be your own judge and see what affinage is about!

See you at Market HQ on Sunday for this exciting tasting.

If you want to be part of this wondrous cheesy event then tickets are available

It is Father’s Day on Sunday so what could be a better treat for Dad then bringing him along to the market?

No 2 Pound St are hoping to bring the British Cheese Award Supreme Champion cheese – ‘Snowdrop’ from Cote Hill Dairy  – Wow, what a wonderful treat for Dad? It’s a soft cow’s milk cheese based on a St Felicien recipe.

My cheese of the month at the last market was Golden Cross goat log – it is really at its best at this time of year and their milk gives this cheese such a mellow flavour – definitely one to try – you can buy it from Fay @bigwheelcheese. It was a very close run thing for me as Medhi @Gastronomicamarket  had his ‘Testun Castagno’ a mixed cow and sheep cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves – this is pokey yet creamy and a lovely fudge-like texture – you have to try that one!

New this market – @amusebouchelm – oh my goodness – their savoury cheese galettes are legendary at London markets so we are thrilled that they are able to join us. Home-made galettes and Artisan cheeses – definitely one for Dad?

Don’t forget our Tea towels and Totes – I think Dad might just love one of those.

We’re very excited that the fabulous Morgan McGlynn Carr has given us a recipe for this month from her The Complete Cheese Paring Cookbook. It’s a wonderful no churn lemon and ricotta ice cream – just need the weather to perk up a bit and I’ll be trying this.

Photography by Jamie Orlando Smith

No-churn honey, lemon, thyme & ricotta ice cream

When it comes to frozen desserts, cheese ice cream might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the velvety smooth texture and delicious flavours of this frozen delight.

Served inside real Sicilian lemons perched on a bed of ice, each one is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. With its vibrant colour and summery aesthetic, this dessert is one of my favourites.


3 Sicilian lemons

2 tablespoons cornflour

250ml/9oz whole milk

180ml/6fl oz double cream

4–6 thyme sprigs

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out (reserve the pod)

4 tablespoons runny honey

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

340g/11 ¾ oz ricotta

3 tablespoons full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

½ teaspoon flaked sea (kosher) salt

mint leaves, to decorate

1 Halve the lemons lengthways and carefully scoop out the flesh, keeping the lemon shells intact. Transfer the flesh and juice to a bowl, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and set aside in the fridge.

2 In a small bowl, whisk the cornflour with about 3 tablespoons of the milk to make a smooth slurry.

3 In a small saucepan, bring the remaining milk and the cream to the boil over a medium heat. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from the heat and add the thyme and vanilla pod and seeds. Cover the pan with a lid and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

4 Strain the milk mixture into a bowl to remove the thyme and vanilla pod. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a medium-high heat.

5 Give the cornflour slurry one last whisk, then little by little, whisk it into the milk and cream, bringing the mixture back to the boil. Keep cooking, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 1 minute).

6 Stir 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the honey and the sugar into the thickened cream mixture, mixing until they dissolve. Remove from the heat.

7 Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender and add the ricotta, cream cheese and salt. Blitz until completely smooth, then pour into a shallow container and leave to cool. Once cold, put the lid on the container and transfer it to the freezer. Freeze for 1 hour, then remove the lid and stir the mixture (it should be part-frozen) vigorously with a fork to break up any ice crystals. Replace the lid and return to the freezer. Repeat the process, stirring every 30 minutes for 2–3 hours, until the ice cream is smooth, creamy, and firm but scoopable. (You can also churn the ice cream in an ice-cream machine and transfer it to the freezer until ready to serve.)

8 To serve, fill each shell with scoops of ricotta ice cream, then drizzle over some of the reserved lemon juice. You can return the filled lemon shells to the freezer, until you’re ready to serve them – just give them 10 minutes at room temperature to soften a little.

We can’t wait til’ next weekend – we’ll be announcing the winner of the Affineur of the Year so join us and celebrate the wonderful world of Artisan cheese – see you there!

Lucy Cufflin