Rich and creamy soft cheeses are the ultimate indulgence. Brie and Camembert may spring to mind first, but British artisan soft cheeses can now rival France’s best.
British Brie-style cheeses, like ripe Brie de Meaux, are sumptuous and complex with delightfully gooey centres. You may detect aromas of earth and mushroom, particularly towards their bloomy rinds. Other soft cheeses, meanwhile, may have a fresher, more lactic taste. Flavours may be reminiscent of butter and fresh grass.
Vacherin Mont D'Or is exceptionally soft and creamy. This seasonal cheese is rich and voluptuous — and its autumn arrival is always eagerly anticipated by the team!
Soft cheeses can be incredible baked until runny. Otherwise, soft cheeses are best served at room temperature. Add some fruit and pecan nuts for contrasting tastes and textures.
Baron Bigod is an exquisite soft brie-style cheese made in Suffolk at Fen Farm Dairy near Bungay. Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore use the raw rich milk from their Montbéliarde cows to handmake this gold medal winning cheese to a traditional French recipe. The taste is delicate at its centre with yoghurt acidity. Towards its white bloomy rind, which develops over eight weeks of salting and aging, the flavour becomes creamier and richer with aromas of earth and mushroom. Read more
Dorstone is a turret-shaped goat’s cheese coated with edible ash. This traditional technique for maturing fresh cheeses neutralises acidity and creates ideal conditions for desired mould growth and rind formation. The texture within is smooth and moussy when eaten young, becoming firmer as it matures. The flavour has a soft citrus tang and yeasty notes. Dorstone is made by Charlie Westhead at Neal's Yard Creamery near Dorstone Hill in Herefordshire. Read more
Edmund Tew is the incredible soft cheese crowned “Supreme Champion” at the Artisan Cheese Awards 2018. Made by Blackwoods Cheese Company in Kent with raw cow’s milk, these small individual cheeses are irregular in size and shape with a sunken top. French Langres is the nearest relative to these distinctive cheeses with their natural wrinkly rinds. Within, you’ll find a smooth creamy paste with a fresh lactic taste. Read more
Slate favourite Hay on Wye is a fresh goat’s cheese made by Charlie Westhead of Neal's Yard Creamery in Herefordshire, which overlooks the town of Hay on Wye. Loosely modelled on the French cheese Selles-sur-Cher, it is coated with edible ash and sold very young — just two to three weeks old. Inside, it is bright white with a fine, smooth texture and a fresh, creamy taste. Read more
Norfolk White Lady is a full fat, Brie-style cheese produced by Jane Murray at Willow Farm Dairy just outside Norwich. Made from pasteurised ewe's milk, it has a bloomy white rind and pale ivory paste. The creamy texture and rich flavour of this mould-ripened cheese develop with age. Its taste is slightly sharper than traditional Brie due to the natural tanginess of ewe's milk. Warm it at room temperature for at least an hour to enjoy at its oozy best. Read more
St Jude is a sumptuous soft cheese with a dense creamy texture, delicate rind and complex milky flavours of butter and fresh grass. It is produced by Julie Cheyney at White Wood Dairy at Fen Farm in Bungay, Suffolk. Like Fen Farm Dairy’s Baron Bigod, St Jude is made from the raw protein-rich milk of the farm’s Montbéliarde cattle, traditionally used for Alpine cheeses such as Comte and Vacherin. Maturation takes place at Neal’s Yard Dairy, where the cheeses are carefully packed into wooden boxes for sale. Read more
Suffolk Blue is a luxuriously creamy lightly blue-veined cheese. It is handmade at Whitegate Farm in Creeting St Mary, Suffolk, alongside East Anglian favourite Suffolk Gold. Here, husband and wife team Katharine and Jason Salisbury, the founders of Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, have installed a robotic milking system for their herd of Guernsey and Jersey cows. The rich pasteurised milk from these cows gives their cheeses a delightful buttery flavour. Katharine adds Penicillium Roqueforti spores to her Suffolk Blue curds then pierces the cheeses after a week to encourage veining. Summer-made cheeses are often naturally bluer than winter-made ones. Nonetheless, soft and sumptuous Suffolk Blue delivers subtle flavours throughout the year. Read more
Wigmore is a sweet semi-soft brie style cheese made from unpasteurised ewes' milk. Maker Anne Wigmore founded Village Maid Cheese in Berkshire in 1986 and has won many awards since: Wigmore achieved a gold medal at the British Cheese Awards 2016. Its pale paste is dense and creamy in texture. It has a rich, complex flavour which is fruity as well as sweet. Ripened for eight weeks, its bloomy natural rind darkens as the cheese matures. Read more