Friday, November 19, 2010

Restaurant Review: Hiltl, Zurich, Switzerland

On a recent trip to Switzerland we stopped off for lunch at Hiltl. It is a well established vegetarian restaurant, most famous for it's buffet. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they also offer an à la carte menu, but I was there for the buffet! It is quite a large restaurant over two floors, with a quirky mixed decor of old Swiss wooden furniture and other more random items (I saw a fur covered armchair- I hope it was fake!). The buffet has a wide choice of vegetarian food, from salads to curries to pastas etc. You help yourself then weigh your plate at the end, and pay per 100g of food. 100g of food may sound a lot, but the food is so nice and there are so many different things to try, that the plate soon fills up!

They also make freshly squeezed fruit juices and tonics. I had a fresh lemongrass and ginger infusion. The desserts looked delicious but unfortunately we were quite full up at this point... and had planned to walk around Zurich in the afternoon, so decided that we had probably eaten more than enough for a lunch.
I didn't get to have a proper look at them, but Hiltl have published several vegetarian cookbooks. I believe they are also available in english.
Worth a visit if you are in Zurich!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ingredient: Smoked Paprika

Thanks to my time spent working in Barcelona, I have a good stock of smoked paprika at home. It can be hard to find in the UK and is usually very overpriced. Smoked paprika, or 'pimentón ahumado', comes from the 'La Vera' region of Spain, and has Protected Designation of Origin status. Red paprika peppers are oak-smoked for 2 weeks as they dry and are then ground to a powder. Intensities vary from mild ('dulce') to very hot. Thanks to it's strong, smoky, flavour, and wonderful colour, pimentón ahumado is the spice used for chorizo.

As a vegetarian, I do not eat chorizo, but I use smoked paprika often in dishes, especially at this time of year- Bonfire season. It has become an essential ingredient for vegetarian chilli 'sin' carne for example. It can also be used to make spicy potato wedges, or in soups. The most popular brand is La Chinata: there are also some recipes on this page.

Recipe: Spicy-Smoky Carrot and Bean Soup


-1 onion, chopped
-4 carrots, diced
-1 clove garlic, chopped
-1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
-1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
-1 tsp marmite/ 1 stock cube
-1 tsp smoked paprika
-salt, pepper

1. Gently fry the onion and carrots for 5 minutes.
2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients apart from the kidney beans, and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
3. Purée the soup in a food processor/ with a hand mixer. Return to the saucepan then stir through the kidney beans.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cheese of the Month: Gruyère A.O.C.

The origins of the cheese name Gruyere dates back to 1655 when gruyère depicted the district of the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland where the cheese is made. Gruyere is a picturesque area in the alpine foothills with lush pastures which surround the lovely village of Gruyères, a Medieval market place.

The regions of production are: The cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura, the districts of Courtelary, La Neuveville, Moutier and
several bordering villages in the canton of Bern.

Made from cow's milk, the cheese is matured for five months for mild Gruyère; eight months for semi-salty (the most in demand and the most sold); about ten months for the salty variety and at least twelve months for prime-quality Gruyère.

Shape and appearance: The cheese is in the shape of a millstone, with a washed
and brushed, grainy, uniformly brownish and healthy rind-like crust. The heel is slightly convex.
Height: 9.5 - 12 cm, Alpage: 9 - 11cm

Diameter: 55 - 65 cm, Alpage: 50 - 65 cm
Weight: 25 - 40 kg (average 35 kg), Alpage: 20 - 35 kg (average 25 kg)

The cheese is smooth to the touch with a slightly damp feel. It is soft, reasonably firm and not very crumbly. Its even ivory colouring varies according to t
he season. The dominant fruity and nutty flavours can vary in taste according to the region of origin.

You can use Gruyère as an alternative to cheddar in any dish. It is also the perfect cheese for fondues.

Recipe: Fondue with half & half Gruyère AOC and Vacherin


1 clove of garlic, cut into two
400 g grated or thin slices of
Gruyère AOC cheese
4 teaspoons of corn flour
350 ml white wine
400 g Vacherin Fribourgeois
cheese, cut into small dice
1 small glass of kirsch
Pinch of Cayenne pepper


Rub the fondue dish with the clove of garlic. Leave in pot If desired.
Mix the Gruyère AOC, the Vacherin Fribourgeois and the corn flour together in the fondue dish, add the white wine and bring to the boil while stirring continuously until the cheese has melted.
Add the kirsch and the Cayenne pepper.
Keep the fondue dish warm on the burner over a very low flame.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In season: Walnuts

The end of August to late November is walnut harvesting season. They are available in the shops year-round; but if you are lucky enough to live near some walnut trees now is the time to go foraging.

Interesting facts about walnuts!

-The word 'walnut' comes from the Old English word wealhhnutu, literally meaning 'foreign nut'... because it was originally introduced from France and Italy.

-The best known variety is the Persian Walnut (also called the English Walnut), one which has a large nut and thin shell which makes it more suitable for eating than other varieties, such as the Eastern Black Walnut which has an extremely tough shell and smaller nut.

-The world's largest producer and exporter of English Walnuts is California's Central Valley.

Recipe: Walnut Pesto


-150g walnuts
-100g grated parmesan
-200g creme fraiche/ cream cheese
-1 tbsp fresh parsley/ basil
-1 tbsp olive oil

1. Put all ingredients into a mixer and blend to a paste. You can vary the quantities of each ingredient to taste.
2. I served this spread over some par-boiled celery hearts, topped with breadcrumbs and baked in the oven for 30 minutes. You could also use it as a pasta sauce, or as a pâté for toasts.

Recipe: Pickled Walnuts

PICKLED WALNUTS. Thanks to my Grannie for this recipe :-)


  • Soft green walnuts,
  • Brine, using 100g salt for each litre of water.
  • Spiced vinegar (to get a good result, to every litre of cider vinegar add 5 - 10g of whole spices such as cloves, allspice, cinnamon, white peppercorns, ginger).

Bruise the spices lightly under a cloth to release their flavour.

For a quick method of spicing the vinegar put it in a heatproof

bowl, add the spices and cover with a plate. Stand the bowl in a

saucepan of cold water, bring gently to the boil and remove from

heat. Leave for 2 hours, do not move the plate or the flavour will

be lost.

For the walnuts : use walnuts whose shells have not begun to form.

Prick well with a stainless fork. If the shell can be felt, do not use.

The shell begins to form opposite the stalk, about 5 mm from the end.

Cover with the brine and leave to soak for about 6 days.

Drain, make fresh brine, and leave to soak for another 7 days.

Drain and spread on a single layer of clean newspaper,

leaving them exposed to the air, preferably in sunshine, until

they blacken (1 – 2 days).

Pack into prepared jars and cover with hot spiced vinegar.

Put on vinegar-proof covers when cold,


Note : to prevent stained hands, always wear gloves when

handling walnuts .

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chutney Workshop

It's chutney season! I love this time of year. There are lots of nice apples, plums, and other
vegetables around to put into chutneys. If kept well they can last for months. Here are a few photos from my latest chutney session, I made carrot chutney with indian spices. Anne made apple chutney. They both worked out well!

Here is roughly what went in mine:

Makes 4 x 225g jars.


-4 large carrots, peeled and grated
-2 small apples, peeled and finely chopped
-75g sultanas
-1 clove garlic, finely chopped
-1 small onion, finely chopped
-2cm fresh ginger, grated
-200g light muscavado sugar
-300ml cider vinegar
-1tsp of each of the following: nigella seeds, brown mustard seeds, ground coriander, chili flakes.
-Good pinch of salt


1. Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes, or until soft.
2. Meanwhile sterilise the jars by placing them in an oven set at 110°c, upside down, for at least 30 minutes (without the lids).
3. Carefully spoon the chutney into the jars, pressing down as you go, and seal the lid tightly.
4. Label the jars and store in a dark place for at least one month before eating.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Restaurant Review: L'Art du Fromage, London

I was very lucky to be taken to this restaurant recently. Located in Fulham it is a real gem for those who like French cooking, and cheese in particular! Their menu is based mostly around cheese, although there are a few cheese-free options.

I decided to have my first fondue of the season, but was equally tempted by the "cloche" of cheeses and cheese tasting boards. Upon entry to the restaurant, you walk past their huge chilled cabinet of cheeses, and the whole place is filled with the smell of cheese (in fact; if you don't like cheese for some reason it is probably best not to go there!). The restaurant itself has a very cosy feel and the service was excellent. Their wines are equally very good.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Recipe: Mushroom, chestnut and Dijon mustard soup


250g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
200g chestnuts (cooked and chopped)
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 small turnip, peeled and diced (Alternatively use an extra shallot)
1 clove garlic, crushed,
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
3 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 vegetable stock cube/ 1 tsp marmite
Sunflower oil for frying
Salt, pepper

1. In a large saucepan, gently fry the shallot and turnip in some sunflower oil for 5 -10 minutes. In a separate frying pan, fry the mushrooms and chestnuts in sunflower oil until the mushrooms have browned. Reserve ¼ of the mix and add the rest to the saucepan with the shallot and turnip. To this add the garlic and parsley and cook for a further 2 minutes.

2. Stir in the mustard and add the stock. Cover with a good amount of boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the turnip is soft. Puree in a food processor/ with a hand mixer. Stir through the reserved mushrooms and chestnuts and serve.

This would be very nice served with some toasts topped with bleu d’auvergne (cheese of the month!) and some red wine.

Tip: make sure the mushrooms are of good quality as they have more flavour. Button mushrooms for example wouldn't be suitable for this recipe.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cheese of the month: Bleu d'Auvergne AOC

Bleu d'Auvergne is a blue cheese from the Cantal region of France, and has AOC status since 1975.

Milk from Salers cows is used to make this cheese, and the active ingredient is penicillium roqueforti which gives it deep blue veins running through. The cheeses are salted and aged in cellars for minimum 4 weeks.

This cheese is less salty than most blue cheeses and has a creamy, melt-in-the mouth texture. It is good for use in cooking such as in pasta sauces, or on a cheeseboard with a full bodied red wine (Chateauneuf Du Pape, St Emilion etc.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Table in the Tarn

I was pleasantly surprised to find this book in Waterstones last weekend. It tells the story of a British couple who give up their lives in London and renovate an old manoir near Cordes-sur-Ciel, in South West France. They convert it into a boutique b&b called Le Manoir de Raynaudes, and the book describes the local lifestyle and food and has over 100 recipes. Very inspiring!

Here is the Amazon review:
"While walking in South-west France, cook and journalist Orlando Murrin dreamed up the adventure of a lifetime: why not wave goodbye to the rat race and come to live in this rural paradise, where the only traffic is the boulangerie van delivering baguettes? His book tells the story of how he set up a boutique b&b and includes 100 amazing recipes. The story of the Manoir de Raynaudes begins on New Year's Eve 2001 when Orlando and his partner first glimpse the ruined manoir at dusk. Set in 13 acres of lush meadow, woodland, lakes and garden, they set about transforming the dignified old manor house into a phenomenally successful boutique b&b with its own magnificent kitchen garden. A Table in the Tarn charts the discovery, acquisition and renovation of the property. Along the way, we learn about the local food scene, with its astonishingly rich heritage of ingredients and dishes, about working in France and coping with the famous French bureaucracy, and about the unforeseen delight of working with the locals. Four years on, with countless plaudits and a coveted entry in the classy Mr and Mrs Smith directory, the business attracts visitors from around the world and continues to be a gastronomic destination for anyone seeking peace, tranquillity and above all fantastic food. Everything at the Manoir is home made, from breakfast breads to after-dinner chocolates, and the book includes 100 recipes. From the sublime Roquefort Brioche via Savoury Mini Clafoutis and Roast Pigeon Breasts in Armagnac to the unparalleled Chocolate Nirvana with Creme Anglaise, this collection of recipes offers a vivid experience of life in rural France. Cooks everywhere will devour the descriptions of country cooking as mastered by generations of French cooks. Not only will you learn the insider secrets of making acclaimed dishes from the Manoir, but find out what it's like to make a dream come true."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recipe: Marrow squash stuffed with mushrooms and bleu d'Auvergne

Serves 2 (quantities can be doubled to serve 4)


-1 good sized marrow (or any other similar shaped squash)
-200g chestnut or field mushrooms, chopped finely
-100g hazelnuts, chopped (best done in food processor, I used my new mini chopper :-) )
-100g breadcrumbs
-1/2 red onion, finely chopped
-handful fresh herbs (I used parsley and basil), chopped
-1 tsp dried oregano
-75g bleu d'Auvergne (or other blue cheese)
-1tbsp olive oil
-knob of butter
-salt, pepper

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the red onion and mushrooms for 5 mins or until softened. Add the nuts, herbs, breadcrumbs and seasoning. Mix well and put to one side.
3. Cut two 3-4 inch slices from the marrow and remove the seeds (keeping the skin on). Place in a saucepan and cover with boiling water, simmer gently until slightly softened (5-10 mins). Remove and put on a baking tray.
4. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the hollow centres, pressing down as you go. Drizzle with the olive oil and bake in the oven for 30 -40 mins. Towards the end of the cooking, top each one with half of the blue cheese and return to the oven until melted.

This dish is lovely served with some green beans and Dauphinois potatoes. I do not advise eating the skin!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Organic Food Festival 2010

Last weekend the national Organic Food Festival took place in Bristol. The festival celebrates all things organic, mostly food but also clothing and cosmetics. As a Soil Association member, entry was free so I felt obliged to go on both Saturday and Sunday...

Over 100 stalls took over Bristol Harbourside for the weekend. Each stall was very happy for us to sample their products and most of them had ample free samples to hand out. Yeo Valley were this year's sponsors alongside the Soil Association, and they were handing out free yoghurt- I think I must had eaten at least 6 over the two days. There were also cooking demonstrations taking place as well as wine tastings from Cono Sur- for me this was one of the highlights!

My favourite stall was Godminster. They sell cheese, chutneys and flavoured vodkas. I think it is the best cheddar I have ever tasted! The cheddar also comes in wax coated heart shapes. What a great gift idea for a cheese lover.....

It was a great weekend and it was good to see so many people supporting organic produce.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Recipe: Livarot and Spinach Filo Parcels

Serves 2


400 g Frozen spinach leaves

100 g of Livarot, sliced

10 cl cream

Cumin seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

Chopped chives

Salt, pepper

4 sheets of filo pastry

40 g melted butter

1. Defrost the spinach and cook on a medium heat until all water has evaporated. Add the salt, pepper, cream, chives, and cumin and mix well. Heat through for a further 2 minutes and then remove from the heat and put to one side.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (th.8).

3. Prepare the filo pastry: brush the sheets with the melted butter then lay one sheet over the other (to leave two sets of two sheets). Line a baking tray with baking paper and transfer the filo pastry.

4. Spoon a small amount of the spinach mixture into the centre of the filo sheets, then top with half of the Livarot, and repeat with a layer of the spinach mixture.

5. To make the parcels, fold the sheet into the centre on one side, then the other. Then fold the remaining sides into the middle of the parcel and secure with a toothpick. Brush the parcel with melted butter and make up the second parcel.

6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden.

Serve with a green salad.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cheese of the month: Livarot (Normandy, France)

Livarot comes from the "Pays d'Auge" region in Normandy, France, and is an AOC (PDO) cheese.

Made with cow's milk, it has a soft texture an earthy (even farmy) taste. It has a washed rind of an orange colour. It is characterised by 3 - 5 rings of bullrush which are wrapped around the outside, originally put in place to keep the cheese's shape whilst maturing. The bullrushes are picked in August then washed, boiled, and dried, before being wound round the cheese by hand. This is what gives Livarot it's nickname of "le Colonel", as the rings of dried bullrush resemble the stripes on a Colonel's uniform.

Livarot usually comes as a 450g round, but smaller "Petit Livarots" are also produced. For more information on this cheese please visit:

Alternatively, if you are interested in adopting one of the Normand cows, please see below!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I discovered these whilst on holiday (also during the day trip to Aix-en-Provence: I love that town!)

A speciality of Aix, Calissons are a kind of almond shaped petit four. They consist of a fruit paté made from almonds, glacéd melon, and orange peel, which is then topped with icing. They melt in your mouth and are quite moreish.
I am not sure if they are easy to find outside of France, but if you do see them they are worth a try!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Market: Aix-en-Provence

Market: Aix-en-Provence

If you are like me, a good food market with ample free tasters is just about the best way to spend a morning. Whilst on holiday in Cassis, Provence, I took a day trip to Aix-en-Provence. It is a lovely colourful town with lots of old streets to walk through, and boasts, amongst other attractions, no less than 40 fountains. When we were there it happened to be a market day (ok, so it wasn't a coincidence...). There were three different markets on the same day- one for flowers (Place des Prêcheurs), one for antiques, (Place de Verdun), and one for food (also Place de Verdun). The food market was the largest and had wonderful stalls stacked with fresh produce.

Some of the products on sale were:

-Tomatoes (almost the size of melons)
-Fresh fruit (yellow and white peaches, cherries, melons, apricots...)
-Hams, patés and dried sausage
-Gigantic basil plants-Tapenades
-Provençal "navette" biscuits
-Olive oils

It is one of the best markets I have been to, not only were the products on sale amazingly fresh, but most stalls were giving out free samples so by the end of the morning we did not feel the need for lunch!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Recipe: Peach and Almond Tart with Lavender Cream

I made this last night and thought it turned out quite well. It is nice served as it is, but for the more adventurous it can also be served with a lavender infused crème fraîche.


-3 ripe peaches (white or yellow)
-125g ground almonds
-125g unsalted butter (softened)
-125g golden caster sugar
-2 eggs
-40ml cream
-1 x ready rolled shortcrust pastry (for desserts, to fit a 30cm diameter tart tin)

Lavender cream:
-200ml crème fraîche
-4 heads of lavender

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan assisted, 190°C if not).
2. Prepare the lavender cream: mix the crème fraîche with the lavender 'buds' and put in the fridge to infuse.
3. Line the tart tin with the pastry, pushing it down firmly on the sides (some ready made ones come with greaseproof paper, but if it doesnt you may need to grease the tin first). Prick the base with a fork then cover with some more greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile cream the butter and sugar in a bowl. Then add the almonds, cream, and eggs and mix well. Put to one side.
5. Using a sharp knife, stone the peaches then slice into thin crescent shapes.
6. Take the tin out of the oven and remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper. Spread the almond mixture onto the base of the tart, then arrange the peach slices on top (I like a swirly pattern but this can be difficult to achieve!).
7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool then serve with the lavender cream.

Recipe: Berenjenas Fritas con Miel

Fried Aubergines with honey

This is a spanish recipe from my good friend Diana Garcia :-)

Ingredients: aubergines, flour, water, salt, honey, sunflower oil.

Wash the aubergines and leave them in a bowl of salted water to soak for 40 minutes.

Put the flour and water into a large shallow bowl and mix well until you have a thick batter, making sure there are no lumps.

Rince the aubergines and cut into strips (like chips), add salt to taste. Then dip them into the batter mix, covering them.

Heat up the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Fry the aubergines until they are golden.

Remove the aubergines and put them on a plate, arranging them in a pyramid shape.

Spoon honey over the top.

I haven't tried this recipe yet but it sounds delicious!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gaillac Fete des Vins

Gaillac Fete des Vins

Every year in August, the town of Gaillac (South West France) celebrates it's wine. This wine region is not very well known outside of France and the festival is a good opportunity to discover the different types of wine.

Gaillac wine is AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) and there are 6 main varieties:

"Fraîcheur Perlée" AOC GAILLAC

At the festival each wine grower has a stand and you are able to taste all the wines. (They obviously hope you will buy a bottle or two!). There is also music and fireworks- it is a great day out! more information on the wine region can be found at :

Friday, August 6, 2010

Whitecross Market

I was at a training course yesterday near Old Street, East London, and was delighted to stumble across this market. In an area dominated by East End caf's and "Happy Day" supermarkets I was surprised to find this oasis of culinary delights! The street is lined with food stalls selling food from around the world (Asian, French patisseries, Tapas etc…). I went for an Italian ciabatta with roasted vegetables and Taleggio cheese- yum! There are also stalls selling clothes and jewellery. It is worth a visit if you are in the area. It gets very busy at lunchtime however (lots of "City Boys" were queuing up for their lunch….)

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Gourmet - Muriel Barbery

At the moment I am reading The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery. I read her other book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, in English and loved it. I am now reading the Gourmet in French- it is also a great read, especially for foodies!

"France's greatest food critic is dying, after a lifetime in single-minded pursuit of sensual delights. But as Pierre Arthens lies on his death bed, he is tormented by an inability to recall the most delicious food to ever pass his lips, which he ate long before becoming a critic. Desperate to taste it one more time, he looks back over the years to see if he can pin down the elusive dish. Revealing far more than his love of great food, the narration by this larger-than-life individual alternates with the voices of those closest to him and their own experiences of the man. Muriel Barbery's gifts as an evocative storyteller are put to mouth-watering use in this voluptuous and poignant meditation on food and its deeper significance in our lives. A delectable treat to savour." Amazon

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cantal, Fig and Apple Tartine

Ingredients :

  • 4 slices of crusty bread (ideally "pain de campagne")
  • 4 fresh figs
  • 1 apple
  • 8 slices of Cantal
  • 20g of chopped hazelnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 210 degrees.
  2. Wash the apple, core, and cut into thin slices (skin on).
  3. Cut the figs in half.
  4. Arrange the apple slices on the bread and then the figs halves. Sprinkle over the chopped hazelnuts and top with the slices if Cantal.
  5. Bake in the over for 5 minutes, or until the Cantal has melted and the bread has toasted.
Source: Other Cantal recipes available (in French).

Cheese of the Month : Cantal (PDO/ AOP)

Cantal cheese is a firm cheese from the Cantal region of France. It is named after the Cantal mountains in the Auvergne region. The Auvergne region is absolutely beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone.

“Life in Cantal is played out against a stunning landscape of immense power and beauty. Home to natural riches as varied as the dramatic gorges of the Lot and Truyère, the ancient woodland of La Châtaigneraie, the wild moorland of the Aubrac and the boundless emerald green pastures of Salers. But above all Cantal is a land dominated by mountains. Long before the first signs of man, streams of molten lava erupted from the earth’s core to form an immense volcanic crater. For eons this vast mountain of fire dominated the land until an ice age once more froze the surface of the earth. Giant glaciers ripped through the vast volcano, tearing apart the walls of the crater, gouging out steep valleys and sculpting the sharp summits and ridges of the Monts du Cantal.”

Anyway, back to the cheese. Cantal is one of the oldest cheeses in France. It benefits from Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Cantal is shaped like a cylinder, and is one foot in diameter. Cantal is made from raw or pasteurised cow's milk of the Salers breed.

For Cantal, the milk of cows that are fed on hay (during 15 November to 15 April) is used; the summer milk of the same cows grazing on mountain meadows makes the Salers cheese. This semi-hard cheese is aged for several months. The flavor is similar to Cheddar, with a strong, tangy butter taste and grows with age. A well ripened Cantal has a vigorous taste, while a young cheese has the sweetness of raw milk. Its smell is of earth and pasture lands, and is reminiscent of the rich pasture land of the Auvergne region it originates from. According to the time of aging, three varieties are distinguished:
  • Cantal jeune (aged 1-2 months)
  • Cantal entre-deux or Cantal doré (aged 2-6 months
  • Cantal vieux (aged more than 6 months).
These are all available as "fermier" and "laitier". Most (>80% of production) Cantal is of the first two varieties. Cantal vieux is already a hard cheese, if kept properly, it can last up to a year and a half without spoiling. It is not produced in large quantities. Much loved in the Cantal region, Cantal vieux is quite rarely exported due to its strong taste, and can usually be found only in specialist stores.

If you like Cheddar, you will love Cantal. My favourite variety is Cantal Vieux as I find it has more flavour (similar to a mature cheddar). It can be used instead of Cheddar in recipes. See above for a recipe using Cantal. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The best thing since... sliced cheese!

This has to be one of the greatest inventions ever, I can't believe no-one had thought of it before. Good old Dutch. I don't think they are selling them in the UK yet but there is a French website selling them :