There’s nothing like a delicious cheese to enjoy on a summer’s day. Whether you’re hosting friends, planning a picnic or just enjoying a quiet evening in your garden, now is a great time to sample some of the finest cheeses from the UK and Europe.
In this article, we pick some of our favourite summer cheeses and show you the myriad ways to enjoy them. We hope you like our selection of old favourites and take the opportunity to try something new. After all, one of the most delightful things about the wonderful world of cheese is that there are always so many fabulous flavours to try.
Cheese for a Picnic
A cheese selection is a great way to liven up a picnic, but you’ve got to make sure you pick cheeses which travel well and can withstand a bit of direct sunshine – you want to be able to relax on your picnic, not worry about whether the cheese is melting!
The cheeses we’ve picked for this cheeseboard are practical for a picnic yet give a variety of textures for added interest. They can also be paired with a variety of accompaniments which make for a satisfying meal in the great outdoors.
Montgomery Cheddar - this is an exceptional Cheddar made by Jamie Montgomery near Yeovil. Jamie and his family have retained the original cheese making methods which were used in the 19th century, and even use the same starter cultures that his family used over 70 years ago to ensure variety and depth of flavour.
Rachel - we love this oddly named cheese, an unusual semi-hard variety made from goat’s milk which is given its distinctive nutty flavour by being washed in brine solution during maturation. It’s made near Shepton Mallet in Somerset and is rumours to be named after either one of the cheese maker’s friends or a goat.
Wensleydale Special Reserve - the Wensleydale is one of most widely recognised and popular English cheeses, and for good reason. Our Wensleydale Special Reserve is utterly delicious – a picnic really wouldn’t be the same without it. Pair it with our rich Wiltshire Fruit Loaf, sit back, relax and enjoy the bliss!
Other essentials for a picnic
A Fondue for a Summer Evening
One of the great things about a fondue is that, as well as being utterly delicious, it can be enjoyed in a very leisurely manner. So if you want to make a supper which lasts a while so that you can chat to dinner guests, then a fondue has to be one of the most sociable dishes you can make.
As you can imagine, we’ve sampled a lot of fondue in our time and there are three cheeses which we’d recommend you combine to make the ultimate dish – and they’re all British. They are the Paxton & Whitfield Cave Aged Cheddar, the Mayfield Swiss and the Cornish Wild Garlic Yarg.
The Cheddar and the Mayfield Swiss are among our favourites for the perfect combination of flavour and texture. The use of the Cheddar gives a distinctly British twist on this French dish and the Mayfield Swiss is a sweet and nutty cheese which hails not from Switzerland but from a wonderful small dairy farm in East Sussex. The inclusion of the Yarg brings a wonderful flavour to the dish, erasing the need for additional seasoning. All three of these cheeses have good melting points, so are perfect for fondue.
You’ll also need a good white wine to make a fondue – allow for one glass of wine per 500g of cheese in your recipe.
Complete your meal with crusty bread (of course) but add new flavours which you may not have tried before with the Paxton & Whitfield Apricot, Date & Sunflower Seed Cracker Bakes, our Shropshire Blue & Onion Cheese Squares. You can make it meaty with our Classic Shredded Pork or an unbeatable Paxton & Whitfield Half Ham.
The Sunshine Platter
There’s real artistry in creating the perfect cheese so for this cheeseboard we’ve selected varieties which are full of summer warmth and colour, so look as amazing as they taste. As soon as you see these cheese combinations your senses will awaken – and your mouth will water until every last crumb has disappeared!
Our selection is made up of hard, soft and blue cheese for variety and we’ve recommended the best of a traditional cheese, an unusual newcomer which you may not have yet tried, alongside one of our best-selling award-winners of which we’re very proud!
Our traditional choice is, you may have guessed, the Sparkenhoe. It’s the only Red Leicester which is still made in Leicestershire, so it’s a rather special cheese for that reason (and it’s rather tasty too, of course). Our new cheese recommendation is the buttery Rollright which is melt-in-the-mouth delicious. And our award-winner is the Shropshire Blue, which isn’t made in Shropshire but certainly is blue.
Of course, if you live near a Paxton & Whitfield shop in London, Bath or Stratford-Upon-Avon you can pop in and ask to sample any of our cheeses before you buy. You can also speak to one of our expert cheesemongers who will be happy to give you advice and guidance on choosing cheese, wine and accompaniments which you’ll thoroughly enjoy.