Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Lunch at The Cheese Society

February 1, 2019

New Year’s Eve, I could not find anywhere open for lunch.

Luckily I managed to squeeze on the sharing table at The Cheese Society.

The same today, early afternoon, I thought I may be lucky, and again just managed to squeeze onto the sharing table.

Excellent avocado on sourdough bread topped with grilled halloumi cheese.

My companion Boston sausages on toasted sourdough bread topped with melted Lincolnshire Poacher (Cheddar-like local cheese, not to be be confused with finest adulterated fake cheddar from Skegness).

Served with a small salad, generous portion size.

I have no idea Boston sausage, maybe a variant of Lincolnshire sausage.

Whilst waiting, I tried a brie from Scotland. I will have to pop back and buy.

I recommended Ambrosia to add to their reading material.

I fancied a coffee from Base Camp, but closed, closed for the foreseeable future, change of ownership. Nothing to say closed, or when it may reopen.

Excellent cappuccino at Madame Waffle.

Walking through the High Street, a van and a lorry in what is a pedestrianised street. Every day the same, no Enforcement.

Demolition in Sincil Street, started Monday, by Wednesday almost demolished. And no bulldozers as reported by Lincolnite. Part of the ongoing destruction of Sincil Street by Lincoln City Council in cahoots with the local Coop.

The demolition scant regard for safety of passers-by. There should have been scaffolding and netting to stop debris landing in the street.

The Old Mouse House Cheese Shop & Coffee Bar

December 31, 2018

The Old Mouse House Cheese Shop & Coffee Bar is a weird set up, cheese and coffee.

If walk in, not obvious a coffee shop, as through the back, though a glimpse of their espresso machine from the cheese shop provides a hint of more beyond.

It took several visits over Christmas and New Year to find the coffee shop open, cheese shop not always open or closed early.

According to their own facebook page, coffee shop in the cellar they say downstairs, it is not it is a tiny room out the back, climb two steps. Cosy would be the word.

Also a little room upstairs reached by narrow steep stairs. No handrail.

It is also necessary to climb the steep narrow stairs to reach the toilets. Not accessible to those with physical disabilities or the frail and elderly.

The coffee Stokes, the tea tea pigs.

A bakery cum tea shop opposite Coffee Aroma in the town centre, Stokes coffee, tea pigs tea, lasted all of nine months. Clearly no lessons learnt.

It could though be worse, tea and coffee supplied by Lincoln Tea and Coffee.

A row of syrups on a back shelf. A sure sign of bad coffee.

One cappuccino ordered. Cup size too large the larger size.

Having explored upstairs, I found my cappuccino awaiting me on a table when I returned downstairs.

WTF, this a CAPPUCCINO. Dribbling down the side, spilt in the saucer.

What I assumed to be a chocolate melting in the saucer.

The coffee looked disgusting, chocolate sprinkled on top.

Not only looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, served scalding hot, undrinkable.

I took one sip and left untouched.

I asked of the cheese counter the cheese.

Dunno, replied the girl behind the cheese counter, ask her out back.

Her out back, who made the coffee, daughter of the cheesemaker, cannot tell you how we make our cheese, it is a secret, if we told you everyone would copy us.

This is the same bullshit I am fed in coffee shops serving bad coffee, cannot tell you who supplies the coffee as other coffee shops would copy us.

I politely tell them of transparency, direct trade, traceability through roasterie back to the farm.

I had visions of cows eating seaweed or the marram grass in Skegness.

They buy in the milk, pay a fair price, or so claimed.

The cheese Lymn Bank Cheese, the finest Skeggie adulterated fake cheddar 17 different flavours, including ginger, all identical size wrapped in plastic. Some of the cheese encased in wax.

The odds are stacked against any new business. 80% fail in the first 18 months.

Five years ago may have got away with opening a coffee shop serving bad coffee. Not today. You have two weeks to prove yourself. People will check you out. If they like your coffee they will return, bring their friends, if not, they will tell their friends not to bother.

A coffee shop has to have a quality espresso machine, quality grinder, skilled barista, buy quality coffee, coffee ground fresh for each shot, precise measurements, weigh the coffee, extraction time, temperature. And with repeat consistency from one cup to the next.

For bad coffee we have the chains. Every cafe in Lincoln serves badly made Stokes low quality catering supply cheap commodity coffee. Why join the list? And if wished to try Stokes they would visit Stokes.

Nor is there any excuse for using poor quality tea pigs. Even less excuse when on Steep Hill have Imperial Teas.

But a quality coffee roastery or tea merchant would need to be convinced you have the expertise else they get a bad name.

No outside seating. Essential these days for a coffee shop to have outside seating.

In Lincoln there are three excellent coffee shops, Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle, Base Camp. In the spring 200 Degrees will open, coffee mediocre at best, but better than the corporate chains.

Low quality cheese can buy in a supermaket.

A cheese shop has to have quality cheese, rare breed cows out on pasture not the black and white bulk milk producers, unpasteurised milk.

Heed the advice of Bronwen Percival on buying cheese in the Appendix to Reinventing the Wheel.

Buy unadulterated cheese … if a cheesemaker hides behind added ingredients, whether smoke, added fruits or spices … it is either a tragedy … or a sign their milk was devoid of character in the first place … Buy raw-milk cheese … Buy complex cheese … Buy from a cheesemonger … good cheesemongers are curators of good cheese.

Adulterating cheese is akin to adding syrups to coffee. Don’t. It either ruins a good coffee or is used to hide bad coffee.

Their use of social media to say the least perverse. A badly filmed video of their coffee shop located out the back. A picture of a dog tied up outside in the cold and wet (since deleted). Questions posted on their cheese and coffee, not only lack the courtesy to answer, the questions are deleted.

And no, not the Rolls-Royce of coffee machines.

Footfall on Steep Hill has in recent years dramatically fallen. The only way to attract business, to offer quality, word of mouth.

Who are the demographics? The tourist are nigh non-existent, and visitors from Europe are accustomed to quality cheese. Are German visitors going to wish to buy a waxed cheesed stamped with a Lancaster WWII bomber that may have atomised their grandparents?

For quality cheese in Lincoln, The Cheese Society, top of the High Street, bottom of The Strait. Or if in Bailgate next to the Post Office try Redhill Farm Shop which has a small selection of quality local cheeses. There is also local cheese on the monthly farmers market in Castle Square.

Earlier I had excellent lunch at The Cheese Society. Walking up The Strait and Steep Hill, passing many closed business, it was going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

On my back down I passed by The Cheese Society, still packed.

I passed Madame Waffle, it too was packed.

I later returned to Madame Waffle and had a cappuccino. A pleasure, as is always a well made coffee. The difference a skilled barista and quality coffee makes.

Quality, service, word-of-mouth, counts.

Lunch at The Cheese Society

December 31, 2018

Today was a weird day.  Friday before Christmas Lincoln was gridlocked, Christmas Eve the town centre full of drunks, today no traffic, the roads empty, though the town centre was busy.

New Year Sales in full swing, plenty of people about, and yet I passed at least half a dozen or more eating places, every single one closed.

County Restaurant closed, a little vegetarian restaurant I thought I would try closed until 7 January.

The Cheese Society is somewhere I often buy cheese, but I have never had lunch, it is always busy when I pass by.

Today was no exception, it was busy, whether because many places closed or the norm I do not know.

I was in luck, I found a seat at the long shared table.

I ordered avocado on sourdough toast.

Apart from initial disappointment the toast was cold it was excellent.

Sourdough ask, and no one knows what it is.

The latest edition of Ambrosia, issue 5 the San Francisco Bay edition, has an interesting article on sourdough bakeries in the area.

Sourdough is made with wild yeast not cultivated yeast.

I did not order a dessert, but what was served to my neighbours looked mouth watering delicious.  As did what I assumed was the cheese platter.

Something I had not seen before, a metal contraption sitting over candles, the heat used to melt the cheese. Though I think I would prefer not to melt.

The one thing I noticed, the love and care, everything freshly prepared, served with grace, not dumped on the plate, no one cares, as would find in too many places.

Interesting reading material on the end of the shared table. 

They say print is dead, the rubbish yes, but there is now a new generation of high quality print magazines, though often more like volumes of softback large format books, high quality articles, stunning imagery. 

I suggested they add to their collection, Ambrosia, Om Nom, Standart and Drift.

For anyone looking to buy cheese, I would highly recommend The Cheese Society, real cheese, unpasteurised milk, cheese with character and flavour, not what passes as cheese in a supermarket.

The Cheese Society is located at the bottom of The Strait, at the top of the High Street a little way off to the left if walking uphill.

Borough Cheese Company cheese stall

December 20, 2018

When passing through King’s Cross, always worth giving extra time to visit the King’s Cross street food market, especially to visit the Borough Cheese Company cheese stall.

Excellent Comté and Tome cheese.

The stall used to only sell Comté cheese, and whilst that is still their main cheese, they compliment with a couple of other cheeses, which have been different each time I pass through.

And add a little extra time for a coffee off Craft Coffee.

Neal’s Yard Dairy

November 22, 2018

Neal’s Yard Dairy is a mecca for cheese lovers.

I look in, but no time to do justice.

They ask me to try a cheese, Doddington. It is excellent, I buy a piece.

Kings Cross Station Real Food Market

December 14, 2016

Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, a handful of food stalls outside Kings Cross Station selling overpriced cakes, a few pastries and very expensive cheese.

To be fair to the cheese stall, it was high quality cheese. But 19 month’s old Comte, is not two year’s old, as the stallholder claimed. It was though excellent cheese, but very expensive. My piece came to £7-50.

The market seems to have shrunk compared with a year ago, and it certainly was not busy.

A good idea, but needs more variety and not so expensive.

Downing Street Deli

April 16, 2016
Downing Street Deli

Downing Street Deli

Last week, only a few days open, Downing Street Deli was more like a coffee shop cum tea shop in a parlour masquerading as a deli. Today more like a tea shop in a corner shop.

Guy on deli side, very knowledgeable on what he is serving. Coffee bloody awful.

It has taken them a long time to open, weeks if not months behind schedule.

Very much a labour of love. It is as though one has gone back in time to a vintage shop.

An old coffee machine, a very old meat slicer.

They make their own fresh pastas and sauces, buy in bread and cakes from a bakery.

The cappuccino, I am sorry to say was awful and undrinkable. Served scalding hot.

Young barista, very keen and enthusiastic, but cannot make coffee.

It proves once again, you cannot train a good barista. Training only takes so far. It is a  skill and an art. Only learnt by working alongside skilled baristas.

That is not to put the young guy down, far from it.

He would be well advised to go and work somewhere like Harris + Hoole or Surrey Hills Coffee in Guildford, then come back as an asset to the family business.

Barista only part of the problem, they need to buy in better quality beans. I sampled some of the beans bagged. No aroma. Try Horsham Coffee  or Surrey Hills Coffee. They can also then as a deli, sell the freshly roasted beans, with roast date. As Krema sell Horsham, to offer an alternative, go for Surrey Hills.

Outside tomatoes and other salads and fruit and vegetables. Not sure if for show or sale.

With the excellent greengrocer now closed, there is a market. Or take over his shop.

With three coffee shops one also a deli, selling coffee, tea, cakes and bread, I cannot see Loaf surviving.

Loaf serves very poor quality tea and coffee, overpriced  bread and they close early.

At the end of the day, if Downing Street Deli has cakes, bread, sauces or fresh pasta left, they ask customers if they would like it for free.

A nice gesture, food does not go to waste, and customers get to sample what they may not otherwise buy.

Loaf by contrast bins its unsold bread at the end of the day. Disgraceful behaviour.

Fresh pasta had gone when I looked in. I am looking forward to trying one day.

I did not see today, but a friendly cat is often to be found in the deli.

Cheese stall on Guildford market

April 4, 2016
cheese stall Guildford market

cheese stall Guildford market

Winchester has an excellent cheese stall on their Wednesday street food market. Even worth a trip to Winchester.

I was pleased to find there is now an excellent cheese stall on the Friday market in North Street in Guildford. The man very knowledgeable on his cheeses. I tasted a few and they were excellent.

I bought Lincolnshire Poacher.

To my surprise, the Lincolnshire Poacher was a blue cheese, at least had a blue vein running through it.

The cheese guy said this was quite common. Cheddar cheeses often have a blue vein and are written off as wastage, though can be found on sale locally.  For me, he knocked the price down for being defective.

I was baffled by this .

Instead of writing off as waste, why not sell at a premium as Blue Lincolnshire Poacher, in the same way have Blue Stilton?

He had a Blue Stilton, Colston Blue, far superior to average Stilton which has an unpleasant metallic bitter taste.

Located at the top of the market, next to or nearby an excellent fruit and vegetable stall.

Cheese stall and fruit and vegetable stall, two good reasons to visit Guildford on a Friday.

Tea later, sandwich of wholemeal bread, Lincolnshire Poacher cheese with tomato, followed by the unusual flapjack which I had only nibbled with my coffee at Turn Fit Deli.