We get some pretty odd requests to make bespoke cheeses from time to time, but none as crazy as the day Jamie Oliver called up to see if I'd be interested in adding a kilo of white Alba truffles to one of our Westcombe Cheddars!
Now, I'm not really a fan of 'flavoured' cheeses. I tend to think unwelcome additions can really upset the delicate balance of a fine cheese. During their year-long maturation, our Cheddars go through a complex fluctuation of bacteria, acidity and PH activity that, if we've used our know-how, the best raw ingredients, and kept them in the right conditions, results in amazing cheese. But start chucking in additional elements and things can quickly go a bit pear shaped.
But what could I say to Jamie? Truffles in a cheddar? What an opportunity to experiment with this most delectable ingredient, and who knows, it might just work! Well, I'm glad to say it was a great success and produced a completely unique cheddar with a sublime umami character and incredible depth of flavour.
And what became of these epic White Truffle Cheddars? Well, we only made two so obviously there wasn't enough to sell here at the shop (and of course the price would be astronomical!).
So Jamie held a special 'Truffle Cheddar' event at Fifteen in London. Head chef Jon Rotheram devised a seven-course menu around the cheeses, and the evening became a special charity fundraising event for a few lucky punters. Read about Fifteen's Celebrations of Westcombe Dairy's White Truffle Cheddar evening here. Tom.