Hampshire Cheeses, makers of the brilliant Tunworth cheese, have come up with something new and by arse it is good! Their new creation, Winslade, is modelled on Vacherin Mont d’Or but easily surpasses all but one of the hundreds of them I’ve eaten (and that was when I was very drunk so I could have been lead astray by the affineur). I’ve had two Winslade cheeses now and each one has blown my mind as a stunning example of the cheese-makers’ art. Fuck yeah, it’s good!
Winslade was developed by Hampshire Cheeses with the assistance of the ace Bronwen Percival of Neal’s Yard dairy. I can promise you, ladies, no more development is needed; you’ve got it nailed. If this is the kind of cheese you like then this is the kind of cheese that’ll start you waving your arms in the air foolishly and giggling with uncontrolled mirth.
Winslade is a washed rind cheese that has been aged in a little wooden ring. The rind is pale orange and, whilst there is no problem eating the rind, we generally prefer the goodies inside. With both of ours we sliced the top off and spooned out the gorgeous wonders waiting within onto pieces of bread and crackers. Here’s a little gallery of Winslade (click for enlargements. I’m sorry, email subscribers, you’ll have to come to the site to see the pictures):
Orange rind of Windslade
Spooning the Winslade
The orange rind of Windslade
The rind and wooden former
The inner loveliness of Winslade
Winslade and crackers
Davy in bliss
A basic characterisation of Winslade is that it is sweet, rich and creamy, with a satisfying tang of earth and fresh grass clippings. It’s really sophisticated in flavour profile. And delicious!!
The texture of the Winslade obviously depends on how mature it is, but neither of ours have been quite as runny as Vacherin Mont d’Or tends to be. Our first one had a reasonably fluid majority but a less ripe core of more solid cheese in the centre. The combination was sensational and we instantly fell in love with this complex texture.
The Winslade we’ve just had was slightly denser and less liquid in texture; it felt like biting into a complex fresh milk, only in a firm lump. Irresistible! It didn’t feel like you were eating phlegm, as is all too common with Vacherin, but rather something with the body and intensity to tickle every taste bud with purpose, style and no hint of mucus.
You may think me fanciful, but I think I got hints of Hampshire terroir in Winslade. Subtle as they were, I noticed similarities in the earthy/grassy flavours to those I’ve detected in recent Tunworth cheeses we’ve eaten. Given that the milk comes from the same pampered cows I’ve no doubt there will be similarities, but whimsy makes me think there is an element of Hampshire itself in those similarities.
I’ve eaten a lot of cheese. You may think you’ve eaten a lot of potatoes but that’s just peanuts to the amount of cheese I’ve eaten (I largely treat my body with the love it so richly deserves) and the two Winslade cheeses I’ve had surpass all but a vanishingly small number of those I’ve consumed with varying degrees of chortling. It won best new cheese at the National Cheese Awards this year and if it is not supreme champion next year then the judges are tasteless clodpoles. Winslade is simply bum-thrashingly brilliant.
You can get Winslade from Hampshire Cheeses, various other retailers in Hampshire and Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. If you do not go and get some frankly I despair at the entire state of humanity and may as well erase my site from the internet.
Sorry this has taken so long to appear Charlotte, writing is still an extreme challenge. Unlike eating your cheese! Thank you very much. Please feel free to comment if I’ve got anything wildly wrong.