Springtime has finally arrived with snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils all bursting into flower. At this time of year, I adore watching lambs skip around the fields filled with the joys of Spring.
As Easter is fast approaching it’s also the time of year when certain artisan cheeses reach the pinnacle of perfection in terms of flavour and texture. So here are my top picks of cheese delights that should be springing onto your cheeseboards this Easter.
Chabichou du Poitou : a classic artisan chèvre or soft goat’s milk cheese which comes into its own in spring, when goats have given birth and are producing fresh milk. It is made in Poitou-Charentes, France using traditional rennet and pasteurised goat’s milk. Underneath its wrinkly ivory skin you'll find a light compact paste with a slightly crumbly which is still moist enough to melt in the mouth. The taste is fresh and tangy when the cheese is young, and it becomes sweeter and nuttier as the cheese matures. It pairs beautifully with wines from the Loire Valley or any other light crisp white and rosé wines.
Appenzeller "Extra": a classic mountain cheese from Switzerland with a gorgeous smooth and rich texture. There are three main varieties on the market: Classic (silver label) – three to four months old; Surchoix (gold label) – four to six months old; Extra (black label) – six months old, and "Edel Wurzig" - nine months+. Only the best wheels get to become ‘Extra’ or 'Edel Wurzig'. Appenzeller "Extra" is made with early autumn milk, so at this time of year it has matured to perfection and is incredibly flavoursome full of nutty and fruity notes.
Spenwood: an award-winning mature cheese made by Anne and Andy Wigmore in Berkshire, England. Similar in style to both Manchego and Pecorino, it is created using thermised ewe’s milk and vegetarian rennet to create a firm somewhat crumbly cheese with a delightful nutty flavour that has a potential to become more piquant over time.
Gorgonzola Piccante: this firm blue cheese is the lesser-known relation of the very popular Gorgonzola Dolce. It has a bold, spicy flavour which is matured for at least six months. Right now in Spring, you will be tasting cheese which has matured and is made from the complex and luscious milk from summer/early autumn last year. I adore the nutty flavour of Gorgonzola Piccante that pairs so beautifully with elegant red wines.
What better way to welcome Spring or celebrate Easter than with a family gathering and these four cheeses? They will provide cheese lovers with a range of sublime flavours that will delight and reinvigorate your tastebuds and be a fabulous thing to linger over after your Easter lunch.
The Cheese Lady x
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