Winey Tawny Cheese
Over the years, I’ve tasted a number of boozy cheeses: port-soaked Stilton, Red Windsor, Italian wine-washed cheese and the like. They are not commonly available and when they are, they tend to be very expensive, so I thought, how hard would it be to make my own?
For the first experiment, I cut a one-kilogram block of cheddar into 2.5mm slices. These I pierced with a stainless steel skewer, put into a glass container and just covered with a decent shiraz. On went the lid and the container went into the fridge. After 10 days, I drained the cheese, patted it dry and tried a slice. Not bad, not great. The cheese taste came through with an edge of shiraz fruit but the dry wine made the aftertaste somewhat hard.
I tried the same technique with a tawny port and also with an oloroso sherry. The oloroso was good – a distinct smooth, nutty sherry component complementing the cheddar flavour, but with alcohol too dominant.
The tawny cheese was a great success. Porty aromatics interwove with and offset sharpish cheddar flavours. Somehow, the result was both sweet and savoury at the same time, with just a hint of alcohol hovering in the background. A friend who tried it asked where he could buy some.