August 29, 2005
Two Gems From Neal's Yard Diary
Posted by Gordon Smith

It has been a long time since I have posted about cheese, but with fall approaching, the smell of cheese is in the air. Over on the Cheese Forum, a new blog about cheese where I will be cross-posting my entries from here, Rusty started an open thread on cheese shops. If I were allowed to visit any cheese shop in the world, I would have to choose Neal's Yard Dairy, which has two locations in London. Last year, Neal's Yard (via Whole Foods) introduced me to Isle of Mull Cheddar, which remains one of my favorite cheeses ever. This weekend, I discovered two new cheeses from Neal's Yard: Westcombe Cheddar (orange) and Llangloffan (white). Both are hard cheeses made from raw cow's milk, and both pack a punch, especially the Llangloffan.

Westcombe Cheddar is made by the Calvert family at Westcombe Farm in Somerset County, England. It is a traditional, cloth-bound cheddar, and although it is generally described as "fruity," our wedge was nicely sharp. If you would like to see photos of Westcombe Farm and their cheesemaking operations, check out the list of cheeses at the NYD website, click on "Cheddar - Westcombe," and scroll down.

Llangloffan is produced by the Downey family near Pembrokeshire, Wales (which displays a surfer on its tourist sight, by the way). The Downey's have a story to tell about how they came to cheesemaking. Leon Downey was co-principal viola in the HallĂ© Orchestra and Joan Downey was a secretary when moved to Wales to make cheese. A big part of why I love cheese relates to stories like this. The Downey's are cheese people, and they have created an outstanding cheese. Our wedge was a  slightly crumbly, and the taste was spicy. It's bite made my children wince, but I was happy that they left most of it for me. Photos of the Llangloffan Welsh Farmhouse are available here.

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