5 cheese pairing ideas with Chris Hallam, Chorlton Cheesemongers

22 February 2023, 08:29 AM
  • Chris Hallam, manager of Chorlton Cheesemongers, shares his dream cheeseboard and top pairings with Speciality Food readers
5 cheese pairing ideas with Chris Hallam, Chorlton Cheesemongers

What’s on your dream cheeseboard?
I’d always start with Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire and at the moment their Ruby Lancs is spot on. Tangy, buttery and bolstered by a bit of age, the one on our counter at the moment is from September 22, so a bit more aged than a traditional Lancashire.

I’m also a sucker for Duckett’s Caerphilly, I love the earthy, ‘cellarish’ taste and the almost crunchy rind. For a soft cheese, very little can beat the smooth, richness of the Finn from Neal’s Yard Creamery, there is an initial simplicity to it (along with a luxuriance from the double cream) then the flavours develop in the mouth and you’re hit by an intense mushroomy taste.

The citrusy, mousseyness of a Sinodun Hill makes it my go-to goat as it works so brilliantly alongside sweet and savoury accompaniments. And to round it off, the simplicity and sweetness of a Beenleigh Blue is hard to top. Looking at this, I realise I must be yearning for summer as this is a very light summery board.

What’s your all-time favourite cheese pairing?
The one that struck me most and made me realise how terroir shows itself was spending the afternoon with a Brightwell Ash from Norton and Yarrow, delicate and creamy paired with the light, dry, Bacchus from the Brightwell Vineyard. Grapes grown on a similar terrain to where the goats are grazed throws these two together in a summery Oxfordshire combo. They have been made, unintentionally, for each other.

Any unusual pairings you’d recommend?
One of my real pleasures is working with local breweries for tasting events and discovering and experimenting with new combos. I did some tasting events with Seven Brothers Brewery here in Salford who have produced a stout using the discarded Coco Pops from Kellogs, again just down the road.

It was almost set as a challenge to see what might work. We paired it with a Blackmount, a goat’s cheese from the Errington Dairy and it was sensational. Together they became a rich, cheesey, chocolaty ‘dessert’, changing both distinct flavours into something completely new.

What do you love to drink with cheese?
There are few specifics, but I can pretty much guarantee that a good cider like the Townsend ciders from Herefordshire will go pretty well with most cheeses, particularly the British territorials.

What must-have cheese kit would you recommend?
Cheese cutting board and wire, couldn’t manage with it.

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