Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why Cardo is such a special cheese

The buzz at the Bristol Wine and Food Fair, where I've been giving cheese and wine masterclasses for the past couple of days has all been about Cardo, a semi-soft washed rind goats cheese made by Mary Holbrook at Sleight's Farm in Somerset and on sale at the Trethowan's Dairy stand

It's a rare cheese, only made at certain times of year (now) and distinguished by two things: it's set by extract of cardoons, an artichoke-like plant, rather than by animal rennet and its rind is washed with water rather than brine.

Holbrook, who doesn't have a maturing room herself, delivers them up to Neal's Yard and they're matured in a room with other washed rind cheeses but not encouraged to develop their pungency. Basically it turns a bloomy-rinded cheese that would otherwise look like a Brie into one with a slightly crumbly greyish rind (rather than the sticky one you would get with a cheese like Stinking Bishop) and a flowing, gooey centre. The cardoon seems to give a particularly silky texture to the cheese together with a rich, sweet but not at all cloying flavour.

I managed to get a wedge but it was selling like hotcakes, even at the special Fair price of £35 a kilo. You can apparently buy it at the Neal's Yard shops in Borough Market and Covent Garden in London.

8 comments:

Jess said...

Trethowans Dairy Will be selling Cardo over the summer. We and our customers enjoyed it so much at the Bristol Wine and Food Fair.

Fiona Beckett said...

Fantastic - that's great news, Jess.

Fiona Beckett said...

Have just tried it with some freshly dug new potatoes with herbs. That's REALLY delicious!

eatpictures said...

Managed to pick up some Cardo from Trethowans this morning

Utterly delicious

Do you have a wine pairing suggestion?

Might try some pictures

Fiona Beckett said...

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is pretty good . . .

Vinogirl said...

This cheese sounds fabulous.
But of course, I'd try pairing it with a Napa SB.

Fiona Beckett said...

And it would go with that too I'm sure . . .

Elena said...

It' s so interesting way to make cheese! Thank you. I tried to curdle milk and make cheese with fig tree juice but it was uneateble (very bitter taste).
Could you recommend me- where I cal find cardoon thistles?Elena