The May meeting of Mermaids: Mylor and Flushing WI was a very cheesy affair. Guest speaker was former cheesemonger from Neal’s Yard Dairy, and Mylor resident, Doug White, and he brought along cheese samples to illustrate his talk entitled Three Iconic Female Cheesemakers, all about their roles in preserving British farmhouse cheeses.
Doug explained how in the ’80s when traditional unpasteurised cheese was under threat from the mass production methods of supermarkets, Randolph Hodgson founded Neal’s Yard Dairy and started a campaign to save our farmhouse cheeses. He encouraged cheese makers to continue using traditional methods and using unpasteurised milk.
These included Elizabeth Montgomery, Lucy Appleby and Mary Holbrook, women who were all vital in the preservation of British farmhouse cheeses.
As well as giving an insight into the farming methods and lives of these three amazing women, Doug had lots of advice about cheese, how to care for it, and how good traditional cheeses were compared to the industrialised cheese from supermarkets. The proof of this was evident in the tasting of three excellent examples, a cheddar from Montgomery, a Cheshire from Appleby and a goats’ cheese from Holbrook which the members thoroughly enjoyed.
Doug’s top tip: Unless you happen to have a cheese cave(!), store your cheese in waxed paper or a beeswax wrap in the salad drawer of the fridge. Don’t leave it in a plastic wrapper.