You’ve probably gathered by now that Winchester is an oasis of corking comestibles. I’ve written already about the local cheese on offer, and very good that is too. Sometimes, you need other cheeses, and this is where the brilliant Cheese Stall delivers the goods in fine style.
They sell continental cheeses of the very highest quality and are a truly brilliant resource to have just a few minutes’ walk down the road. The only problem is when buying a decent amount of cheese to last us a few days it’s dashed heavy carrying them back up the hill to get home.
Which brings me to my misanthropic rant that I’d like to get out the way first – I have covered this ground before. When we were queuing to buy our cheese the lady in front of us tried a number of cheeses then purchased 75g of a single cheese. If you like cheese that little what is the point in wasting everyone’s time going to a cheese shop? I could eat 75g of cheese and hardly notice it; it’s a laughably small amount. Cheese is great, buy enough to satisfy your urges! Our cheese purchases last visit totalled a little over 1.5kg.
Now, The Cheese Stall: I have yet to be disappointed by a single cheese we have purchased from them. Their Emmental de Savoie is one of the most amazing cheeses I have ever eaten. It is so characterful and powerfully flavoured that there is almost a slight suggestion of it hurting your mouth a hint as you nosh on a large lump. We got 650g of the stuff last time. It is amazing cheese and I think they now buy in extra just to satisfy my urges.
This pales in comparison to their stunningly creamy, richly powerful Comté. A magisterial cheese that leads the pack when it comes to this brilliant style of cheese. They’ve got Beaufort too, but I’ve only had a taste rather than the several hundred grams required to accurately judge it as magnificently as that taste made me think it is.
Editor Dani rather likes Morbier for some unaccountable reason, and insisted we got some last week. I may have found the texture as unattractive as I usually do, but blow me if this one didn’t taste pretty good. I was gobsmacked.
As far as soft cheeses go the Delice de Bourgogne and Pierre Robert play the butter/rancid balance perfectly, these triple cream cheeses being sold at a perfect stage of maturity. If you like your hedonism a tiny shade less hedonistic then the Vignotte is a complete joy of fat and fungus.
Their Roquefort is easily strong enough to give you really lurid dreams, but not aggressively difficult to eat. Much the same goes for their Gorgonzola which tickles my fancy no end with its piquant creaminess.
You get the idea, there is quality cheese here for everyone, even people who like cheese so little they buy only 75g of the stuff.
But there’s more! They have a selection of dried sausages which are just the kind of thing you want to be chomping on before moving onto your mid-afternoon snack. Our favourite is the Chorizo Fort, which is quite dry, with plenty of fatty flavour and a good paprika kick. These do not last long in Elitistreview Towers’ fridge.
The Cheese Stall moves around the various markets of Hampshire, here’s where you can find them:
Tuesday – Alton, High Street
Wednesday – Winchester, High Street
Friday and Saturday – Romsey, The Square and Winchester High Street
Find them you most definitely want to; they put most London cheesemongers to shame. Do buy more than 75g, though, otherwise you just won’t be getting the best out of them.