Wednesday, 10 August 2016

EVENT: Davidstow Cheddar Dinner and Cheese Tasting with Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker

Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings
Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings
Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings

I don't go to too many blog events these days. Yeah, I'll admit it, laziness is the main reason - I just like sitting down, that's all - but every now and then I get an invite to one that I can't refuse.

One such invite was 'Hey Sarah, do you fancy coming to a cheese-based event?' Why yes. Yes, I do. Davidstow Cheddar, you just get me.

Davidstow teamed up with Lee Westcott, who's the head chef at trendy joint Typing Room in Bethnal Green, and has totally been on telly and stuff, to make a delicious cheese based menu. The night of my dreams, basically. Everything involved cheese, from the canapes to the dessert. There was even a cheese tasting. You know wine tasting? Like that. BUT WITH CHEESE.

(And also wine, hooray.)



Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings

We started with canapes - cheese based, obvs - choux buns with Davidstow 12 month matured cheddar, and seaweed frittata with 3 year matured cheddar. They were delicious, especially the choux buns which had a little bit of caramelised onion in there, too. I wish it was more acceptable to eat twenty canapes in one go.

Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings
Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings

The starter was a smoked trout, duck egg and watercress quiche with 18 month extra mature cheddar (apparently smoked fish and mature cheddar are a match made in heaven), but I got the non-fish option of a salad as I don't eat seafood. Considering it was just a simple collection of lettuce, tomato and cheese, it was a damn good salad - which I put down to the cheese. With cheddar, I never thought much beyond mild, mature and extra mature but it turns out there's a whole different world out there of variously aged cheddar. I'm basically an expect now, because of the aforementioned cheese tasting. I'll get to that. Gonna drop some knowledge on you all.

Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings

Our main course was Paccheri (a kind of pasta) filled with spinach, summer truffle and 12 month matured cheddar. This was pretty tasty, although I would have liked something to cut through the salty mature cheese - maybe something sharp or sweet? It doesn't matter, really, because the dessert was SO amazing that everything else paled in comparison. Which I feel kind of bad about saying because it actually didn't contain Davidstow. I do really like Davidstow, but when it comes to dessert cheese, cheddar really doesn't appear too often. It's more likely to be a creamy cheese, like, er, cream cheese.

Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings

But actually, burrata doesn't appear often on a dessert menu either, right? I've only ever had it as a starter (ooh, remember the one at Franco Manca? God that was good). But using a super creamy cheese as the basis of a panna cotta was GENIUS, along with Cornish clotted cream and strawberries. It was so rich, but in the way that if you'd put three plates of it in front of me, I would have devoured them all. And maybe then been sick, but in a happy way. Anyway. YUM.

As I mentioned, we also had a cheese tasting which was hosted by Mark Pitts Tucker, Davidstow's Master Cheese Grader (what. a. job). We started off sampling three different cheddars, and then we finished the meal with - of course - a cheese board. The cheese tasting was really fascinating. I've done a cheese tasting once before (at Vivat Bacchus for my birthday a couple of years ago - I highly recommend the cheese room experience) but I've never just focused on one type of cheese, and it was eye opening.

Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings

We tried the three cheeses that were included in the menu - a 12 month aged, an 18 month aged and a 3 year aged cheddar. The youngest cheddar was the smoothest, almost waxy although it had a creamy taste. It's less intense than the others, but with a long lasting flavour that you get instantly, rather than as an aftertaste. The 18 month aged has the beginning of crystals forming, which you might have had before - think Cornish Crackler, that kind of cheese. The crystals used to be seen as a fault in cheese but are now a desirable characteristic that cheese makers create deliberately. It was super buttery and definitely my favourite - strong, but not overpowering and incredibly creamy. Then the 3 year aged. It had more crystals, as you expect with a longer aged cheese, but although it was the strongest cheese, the immediate hit of flavour was followed by a mellow, creamy aftertaste.

Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings

After our meal, we tried a few more cheeses, including a 50 month matured cheese which isn't actually available for sale. You know the line in Jurassic Park, something like 'You only asked if you could, you didn't stop to ask if you should...' that came to mind when Mark talked about creating this. It was an experiment, basically, and certainly not an everyday cheese. It was very intense, but super moreish and worked really well with a litle quince or fig to cut through saltiness. So the answer to that question is yes, they absolutely should have created it. Unlike those dinosaurs.

It was such an interesting evening, and I'm sure I've made you want some cheese now, so I've included some recipes that you can try at home. Davidstow Cheddar is available in most supermarkets, so load up your trolley and have the cheesiest of days.


Blog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastingsBlog and press event for Davidstow Cheddar featuring Lee Westcott and Mark Pitts Tucker plus recipes and tastings
SHARE:

No comments

Post a Comment

Comments make my day. :) I love you.

© Essbeevee | Hertfordshire, London, St Albans, Tring food, lifestyle, interiors & travel blog. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig