English cheese – proof that there is a God and he loves me

Posted on March 18, 2009 by yankeebean

yankeebeanI think this might be my second post about the glories of cheese in Britain (and the whole of Europe for that matter).

Let me begin by admitting my love for dairy products in America.  I love Montery Jack, Colby, ‘American Cheese’ (genius!), and even Velveeta in melty cheesy dips.  I’m not a fan of that spray-cheese-in-a-can, but, hey, you can’t win ‘em all…

But when I moved to England my cheese education truly began.  The incredible variety of cheeses (all clearly marked as Vegetarian or not) being sold at resonable prices is FREAKIN STAGGERING.  Somerset Camembert, French Brie, Wendslydale, Oak-smoked Cheddar, Goat’s cheese of every shape, size and texture, Halloumi, Stilton…the list could easily go on and on.

It’s not that I discovered these cheese when I arrived the UK, but I didn’t really experience them very much until I got here.  In the States (at least in all my local super markets in the Midwest) there was a cavernous gap in price between the Kraft-cheeses (usually located near the butter and yoghurt) and the snazzy ‘exotic’ cheese that you’d find at the highly-polished cheese counter.  It was this price gap that meant I grew up eating (and loving) Kraft cheeses.

But in England – the ‘Kraft cheese section’ (for lack of a better term) comes fully stocked with a crazy-good selection of all kind of different dairy-treats.  And it seems to be constantly changing, every time we check out the selections there’s some kind of new Edam or Emmental or something, yum!  I approach each visit with an open mind (and stomach), ready to learn and love something new…

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my Kraft cheese because I do, but I’d also like to personally thank my local English grocery store for providing me with my new-found cheese education!

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Olive February 20, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Try Stinking Bishop, if you can find it. It can sometimes be found at The Don restaurant in London. And don’t forget the Welsh cheeses, Caerphilly especially.

  2. Vanessa November 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Since I have only recently found this blog, please excuse my super late comments/questions!

    I am not a cheese fan so I never venture out. I have been dying to know if you have found an equivalent to Monterey Jack cheese here in the UK or even better know where you can buy Monterey Jack?

    I have been to restaurants where you can have an American burger or nachos topped with Monterey Jack cheese but found that they are not even close! It should be a crime to call it Montery Jack when clearly it is not!

    The closest I have come to finding a cheese I love in the UK is Dutch Edam and I still can’t pronounce it correctly!

  3. peacefulyorkshire March 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Yes, I think that NOW you can find some really nice cheeses in American shops, but I was brought up in a very small desert town in the 80′s, the selection was pretty limited and not very “sophisticated”. My idea of a “fine cheese” was when my parents bought Kraft and not the generic kind! It took a while to get up to date on my cheese savoir faire. Now my little desert town back home has brie (!)– but still my Yorkshire shops continue to offer more choices.

  4. Stiltonlover March 19, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Pasteurisation of cheese changes the taste entirely, as any connoisseur will tell you. If you are worried, you can look up on line which are pasteurised and which aren’t, but really, unless you are very unlucky (or pregnant) you stand much more chance of being hit by a bus than of being struck down by a piece of delicious Camembert or a gorgeous smellysocks Roquefort!

  5. notfromaroundhere March 18, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Methinks you weren’t shopping in the ‘right’ places in the states–higher end markets always had an awesome cheese selection. Even now when I go back I can find things that were new discoveries here such as Halloumi–at the Whole Foods back home!

    I also note that I miss the American laws on pasteurization of cheese milk: the only time I’ve had food poisoning here it was due to a cheese plate with some blue that was clearly off!

  6. pacificyorkshirebird March 18, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    M&S has an award winning coloured cheddar that is the closest thing that I can find to my beloved Tillamook cheese. SOO good!

    I kinda miss being able to get Swiss cheese on sandwiches in the local sandwich shops. In fact – despite the fabulous selection of cheese at the supermarkets here (and I hear you on the reasonable prices) I miss more cheese choices on sandwiches generally.

    Sandwich makers of Britain – take advantage of the AMAZING cheese!

  7. peacefulyorkshire March 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I also love how different areas of Britain have their own cheese… And each chain store has their own version, like Sainsbury’s Wensleydale vs. Tesco’s version of Wensleydale… the possibilities to find your favourite are endless…

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