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What’s on your dream cheeseboard?
I’m a big fan of a one-cheese cheeseboard! So my favourite is forever changing, and we love to shout about seasonal cheese. It’s nice to have a lactic goats cheese like Cnoc Dubh in the middle of the summer, or we have a cheese called Creeny made by Tom Cropp at Corleggy, it’s a little individual sheep’s cheese that in the summer when it’s fresh and creamy is lovely, but we squirrel some away to last into January, for our beer and cheese nights (a month of Mondays), and it becomes a different beast, spicy and tangy a nice talking point.
What’s your all-time favourite cheese pairing?
My favourite cheese pairing is a big whack of Young Buck with a mince pie from our friends’ Manmade Bakery. Christmas is a crazy time for cheese shops so after a hectic week settling down with this washed down with some Mescan (a great Irish Belgian-style brewery) special reserve is such a treat.
Any unusual pairings you’d recommend?
I read lots and follow lots of cheese accounts so it’s hard to think of something as unusual! I visited Pick n Cheese at Seven Dials Market this year and loved their sushi-style belt with all the mad pairings. Kimchi and Krauts go so well with cheese and we have spent this year convincing our customers to try it!
We are lucky to have a local grower make us some. Also, you can’t beat a good fruit jelly and again we are spoilt with apples in Northern Ireland so we have a local chef Karen Bell makes us apple cheeses spiked with different hedgerow fruits each autumn for the Christmas period.
What do you love to drink with cheese?
We run monthly beer and cheese nights in our neighbouring pub the Sunflower bar, so for me, it’s beers and cider over wine anytime!
We are lucky to have a lot of local breweries starting up around us so we get a different one each month to pair 5 beers and 5 cheeses. You can get a full range of hoppy IPAs, some good ales, and nice big stouts but my favourite one we did this year was with Otterbank brewery who specialises in mixed fermentation wild beers and the funky flavours go so well with cheese.
What must-have cheese kit would you recommend?
An old school Sheffield steel butter knife. I’ll always have some cheese in my pockets and we have lots of lovely bars around us where you can bring in a bit of cheese to nibble with your afternoon pint, so having a nice portable knife is crucial for pub cheese enjoyment.