IT WAS AN honour to create a cheeseboard for The Big Dinner (Bigdinner.co.uk). Originally charged with providing cheese for the Lord Provost's charity dinner, founder, Olivia Giles, then organised a Google Hangouts session along with blogger Hilary Sturzaker (Mymonkfish.com) and wine expert Nikki Welsh (Winetubemap.co.uk) where we discussed the best practices for assembling a cheeseboard.
Olivia's aim is to raise £500,000 in a single night (March 7th) to aid people with mobility difficulties in Malawi and Zambia, helping them to lead independent lives, as she - a quadruple amputee - has done. Olivia's work is truly inspiring and it was an honour to play this little part in helping The Big Dinner.
This cheeseboard was a true showcase of the outstanding cheeses we make here in Scotland. With all the grassy pastures and wonderful cattle we rear here, it's no wonder we can produce such great cheeses.
I began with Loch Arthur Cheddar, as not only is it a wonderful cheese in its own right, but a an truly amazing project, too. Run by Barry Graham in Beeswing, Dumphries, Loch Arthur Creamery employs over 40 people with learning difficulties, giving these exceptional individuals a living and social space, as well as a skilled profession. This Cheddar is grassy, rich and nutty and a multiple-award winner.
My second cheese was called Auld Reekie, which is from the Cambus O'May Creamery in Royal Deeside, where cheesemaker, Alex Reid, continues his Mother's recipe in the form of Cambus O'May cheese. Auld Reekie - named after Edinburgh - takes the Cambus O'May and smokes it with whisky soaked oak chips to impart a true Scottish flavour.
It wouldn't be a Scottish cheeseboard without an Errington cheese, and Dunsyre Blue is a personal favourite of mine. It's barnyard-y milky tastes linger around the palette long after it has melted away on your tongue.,
Bonnet is a superb hard goats' cheese made at the Dunlop dairy in Ayrshire. It has a slightly floral note to it and is just a really easy eating cheese. Very popular in the shop and pairs notably well with Dunsyre Blue.
Finally, Clava Brie (well, Brie-style) is making a few waves in the cheese industry. It's already collected several gongs at the British Cheese Awards and is a great Scottish take on this most famous French offering. Buttery and chalky, Clava is made from organic cows' milk and brings a soft option to complete this cheeseboard.
Enjoy the video and please stop in for some cheeses.
I.J. Mellis was established in Edinburgh in 1993 with the original branch (come and see me!) on Victoria Street, just up from the Grassmarket. We now have three shops in Edinburgh (Baker's Place in Stockbridge and Morningside Road in Morningside) and a further three branches in Glasgow, Aberdeen and St. Andrews.