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Cheese and ale tasting at a Mayfair shop next month

28 September, 2018 — By The Xtra Diary

Founded in 1797 but with roots going back as far as 1742 

AND so to Mayfair and a little piece of food-related information Diary feels compelled to share.

But, first, a question: do you eat the rind of a cheese?

Diary ponders upon this as the answer is supplied by London’s oldest cheese shop.

Paxton and Whitfield began selling cheese in 1742 from a stall in Aldwych market, before setting up a permanent shop in Jermyn Street, Mayfair, at the turn of the 1800s.

Now the cheesemongers are joining forces with well- heeled boutique hotel Dukes to offer something that is making Diary break out in an anticipatory sweat: nights of cheese and ale partying next month, featuring some of Paxton and Whitfield’s 300- odd cheeses and specially selected ales to wash them down with. Their website is a delightful mix of good- looking edibles and information any self- respecting cheese lover wants to know. After describing the best way to cut a cheese – it varies, they say, to size, shape and texture – they tackle that thorny conundrum as to whether you should gobble up the rind.

“There are three main types,” Diary is informed.

“The bloomy rind, on cheese like Camembert or Brie, formed when cheesemakers spray an edible mould on the cheese.”

Then there are washed rinds, which form when cheese is bathed in a bacterial solution during its ageing process – you get this on ones like the aptly named Stinking Bishop.

Finally, there are the natural rinds. How they develop depends on the humidity and temperature of the rooms in which the cheese is stored.

To slice the rind off or munch through it is purely a matter of personal taste, say Paxton and Whitfield.

“The rind on some, like Parmesan, is usually just too hard to be enjoyable, but we suggest for most others, you simply give it a try,” they say.

And a further tip – go for the piece of cheese closest to the rind, as this is usually the most delicious part.


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