Now then.. Paxton & Whitfield has an amazing back story - it dates back to 1797 and a simple market stall and now, they supply cheese to the royal family, they have three shops in London (Jermyn Streeet), Bath and Stratford and a thriving mail order business! The Stratford shop is in an old building full of cheese (lots of which was local to the Midlands), chutneys, biscuits and all sorts of lovely gift items. Although its a small space, there is plenty to look at! We were lucky enough to have some time with the shop manager Pip. She was extremely knowledgeable about the cheeses they sell and pulled together a British cheeseboard selection for us to try! It really is a hard life being a blogger... ahem!
First we tried a cheese called Baltic - a mature cheese made in Northumberland with its rind washed in Liverpool's Baltic Summer ale (hence the name!) - this tangy cheese went perfectly with the Bramley fruit cheese. We then went for the Perl Las which was my favourite and we actually bought a piece to take home. A Welsh blue cheese, hand made and very creamy. Its flavour made me think of Christmas and big family buffets. Not dissimilar to a Roquefort but less gooey. Then, what I thought was another cows cheese turned out to be a semi hard goats cheese called Rachel. We both loved it for its unusual firm texture and although it did taste like goats cheese, it had something extra an almost nutty aftertaste.
Finally, we had the St Eadburgha - the one closest to my Midlands beating heart. a gooey soft cheese with a full farmy flavour which is made in the Vale of Evesham. There's a nice story to this cheese maker - he started working with Paxton & Whitfield as a Saturday sales assistant before going to study Dairy at the School of Artisan Food to learn how to produce cheese. After another stint with Paxton & Whitfield he then joined Gorsehill Abbey and now makes this cheese and three others.
In all, this is a lovely British brand with a fantastic heritage. I've been to both the Stratford and the Bath shops now and they are equally lovely. I can't wait to visit the original London store next time I'm down. If you're not near those places, you can order their cheese online yippeeeee!
Over and out