The cheeses that I love: Victoria Dunthorne

08 July 2024, 12:00 PM
  • The owner of Victoria’s Cheese in Norfolk shares her top 10 favourite cheeses
The cheeses that I love: Victoria Dunthorne

Asking a cheesemonger to tell you their favourite cheeses is like asking someone to rank their children in order of preference. We love them all!

However, I have dug deep to reveal the cheeses that are always in my fridge, and those I gravitate towards and want to bring to other cheesemongers’ attention.

1. Graceburn – Blackwoods Cheese Company

Blackwoods Cheese Company is based in Kent and uses milk from a single herd of mixed dairy cows from their common work organic farm.

I could eat this every day. It’s soft and rich, yet light at the same time. I will top a lot of my meals with a drizzle of Graceburn, and my weekend breakfast of choice is either a ‘quick shakshuka’ with Graceburn, or smashed avo with a fried egg, Graceburn and some Chilly Willy’s chilli oil. 

2. Norfolk White Lady - Wilton Farm

Made by Becky Enefer in Norfolk from sheep’s milk.

Always in my fridge, this Brie-style cheese is one of my local heroes. When it’s younger I will add a touch of sweetness with a honey, but when older and riper, the strong vegetal and cabbage notes need something punchy and Garden of Eva Chow Chow is an excellent pairing. I cannot get enough of Eva’s pickles at the moment.

3. Buffalo Blue - Shepherds Purse

Crafted by the ladies of Shepherds Purse, up in North Yorkshire, this is made from the milk of a single herd of water buffalo. I always try and include a couple of ‘alternative’ milk cheeses on my boards and when building event cheeseboards, and this is such a deliciously creamy and milky blue that I often use it. I love the ‘ice cream’ mouthfeel and prominent milk flavour. It doesn’t really need anything on the side, but if you want to add another dimension, it would be a tiny drizzle of honey. 

4. Alp Blossom, Albert Kraus

Where to start with this one? It’s made in (German) Bavaria using thermalised milk from Brown Swiss cows. It sells itself on the counter and is bold and brothy with definite meaty flavours. The scented flowers and herbs lend a lot to the flavours closer to the rind, but they also look so beautiful. It’s the ideal choice for a celebration. It doesn’t need anything with it in my opinion. Enjoy everything this gorgeous cheese has to give on its own.

5. Aged Emmentaler

A classic looking mousehole cheese, this aged version has ‘eyes’ of salty liquid which are caused by gasses, and give a salty crunch. But don’t be fooled. A big bang of pineapple will hit your tastebuds, making you wonder of you are eating cheese of a piece of tropical fruit! The cheese is washed as it ages to retain its moisture. I’d pair with a glass of dry fruity Riesling.

6. Mayfield - Alsop & Walker

For me this is such a cheesy cheese. Like the Emmentaler, it has the iconic look of a cartoon cheese, and a lot of similar characteristics to a classic Alpine cheese, along with a pungent aroma. Made by Alsop & Walker in Sussex, this bouncy cheese is fabulous melted in a toastie or as an addition to a fondue. I’d pair with a classic English fizz to cut through its richness. 

7. Reypenner Aged Gouda - Wijngaard Kaas

This hard Dutch cheese is full of toffee and caramel notes with a crunch of salt. Wijngaard is a fourth-generation producer of this cheese made from the milk of cows that are pasture fed during the summer. Having worked with a Dutch man for a while, I know that the best way to enjoy this cheese is as the Dutch do themselves. Dunk into red wine, like we dunk a biscuit into tea! 

8. Valdeon Picos de Europa

A Spanish mountain cheese taking its name from where it is produced. It is made from cow’s milk blended with a dash of mountain goats’ milk.  Not for the faint hearted, this sweet creamy cheese develops on the palate into a powerful fizz of spicy blue. It’s wrapped in sycamore leaves as it matures helping to retain its moisture. I have mine with a white Port for a balance of sweetness and acidity. A great Christmas blue!

9. Cerron 24-Month – Quesos Cerron

This is a Spanish aged goats’ cheese that is so far removed from its soft fresh cousins. Made by the team at Quesos Cerron, the cheese is aged for over two years and becomes hard and crystalline. It melts in the mouth to become creamy and gives off notes of fruity caramel. Great for shaving over salads or drinking with an aperitif of Amontillado sherry perhaps! Also great with a fresh ripe fig. 

10: St Jude/St Cera

Yes, I know that’s technically 11 cheeses, but these sisters do come as a pair. They are made by Julie Cheyney at Fen Farm Dairy in Suffolk, using raw milk from Montbeliarde cows. The milk is pumped directly to the cheese room and the flavour is influenced by the seasons and the cows’ diet. It’s a soft, rich mould-ripened cheese. I just love enjoying a whole cheese on my own with a teaspoon. A bit like some people will eat a tub of ice cream, I eat a tub of St Jude. St Cera is the washed sister of St Jude. When the cheese is a week old it’s washed in a brine solution and a slightly pinkish rind will develop. The cheese is slightly richer and ‘warmer’ and has nutty flavours that develop over time. 


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