It’s a good idea to cheat on your regular cheesemonger from time to time. Some cheeses are imported in very small quantities and may just be available at one or two small specialty shops, or not in your usual haunt. This is how I discovered one of my new favorite cheeses, Tunworth, an English guilty pleasure! Available at Brooklyn Larder in Park Slope (a dangerous place for any gourmet), Tunworth’s bloomy rind encases a delicious runny paste with a mushroomy savory note. Similar to Camembert it has a slightly sweet finish and nutty undertones.
Tunworth is made by Hampshire Cheeses, founded in 2005 and owned by Stacey Hedges and Charlotte Spruce.
Stacey, originally from Sydney Australia, had worked in a cheese shop long before she and her English husband settled with their three young children in rural Hampshire. She found herself thinking fondly of her cheese shop days, missing the inspiration that the little store gave her, before long Stacy began making her own cheese at home.
It soon became clear that she would need a purpose-built creamery to fulfil her dream. With encouragement from the owner of Neil’s Yard Dairy she was soon making this cheese from pasteurized cow’s milk dream that has won a world cheese award and in 2006 was voted Britain’s Supreme Champion Cheese at the British Cheese Awards beating more than 800 other cheeses. No small accomplishment for sure!
I’d suggest pairing with one of England’s best fizzy wines, Ridgeview Estate Cavendish, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. A sparkling wine from England, you ask? Partly an effect of global warming and the chalky terroir of Southeast England, this stellar bubbly shines next to others outside of Champagne. The vineyards are located in the South Downs of Sussex, part of a region that shares the same limestone ridge with Champagne.