Friday, 14 June 2013

Smarts Single Gloucester

So my dear traveller, we have dipped our toe into into the great sea that is Wales, and we will look forward to going back in future months,but just for now let us spring across the border through the Royal Forest Of Dean until we arrive at the rugby loving County of Gloucestershire.We find ourselves in this Ancient Roman garrison, where not one but two matured curds share its name.

Ask anyone what cheese comes to mind when you mention Gloucester then of course hands will go up and cries of Double Gloucester fill the air.  There is another .......the quieter twin brother, so to speak, the Gloucester cheese that doesn't seem to have the pomp and circumstance of its bigger louder mass-marketed  twin.........may I introduce you please, to the quieter but packed with flavour ...... Single Gloucester

Smart's Single Gloucester
First mentioned back as early as 1792, Single Gloucester is by far the oldest of the two so here I think is a superb place to start.

Single Gloucester cheese is only produced by a  few dairy farms where the breed of Gloucester cow is still maintained. Smarts, Charles Martell &Sons, Godsells Cheese and Wick Court Cheese are the only dairys registered under the P.D.O (UK Protected to make Single Gloucester) I have been fortunate to try samples of all ...and in my opinion Smarts was the front runner (at the time of testing) so for this reason and for the benefits of this post, I'm going to give my opinions on this dairy's cheese

This cheese is made from full cream milk, fresh from the morning milking,and skimmed milk from the evening milking. All the milk for this cheese is unpasteurised, and is produced in Gloucestershire, which must include milk from Gloucester cows maintained within the County. Smarts Single Gloucester is a full fat hard cheese made using vegetable rennet and is traditionally made  in a flat circular disc shape with a light white/grey mould or rind cleaned (if vacuum packed)

The production of Single Gloucester did die off in 1938, due to the outbreak of World War Two and the increase increase in liquid milk, but thankfully it was reintroduced  by a few Gloucestershire farms back in 1978 

To call this cheese cheddar-like, would be offending it greatly.  The people of Gloucester should be proud of this great cheese.  Yes, it's curd has a look, flavour and texture of a true medium cheddar but it has it's own warming sunset yellow glow moving lighter the more central you get into the cheese.  The smell again intoxicates the nasal  passages with a sweet burst of aromas.  As I've already mentioned, the texture is that of a medium cheddar but without question, it is far smoother and creamier then it's true Somerset cousin. 

Now there's a added bonus to the Single Gloucester ...and I apologise unreservedly for not mentioning this before.  Now this cheese from the foothills of the Cotswold's is 58% fat in dry matter and a further feature of this cheese is that it can be low in fat, at the discretion of the cheese maker...  So if you're looking for a cheese lower in fat or want to change from a full fat cheddar and don't want to lose the flavour, then you won't go far wrong in using a Single Gloucester cheese.  I truly recommend if you can, to speak to the dairy (or at least the person behind the deli counter) to find out how much fat is in the cheese, as this is always indicated on the label. 

Smart's Single Gloucester
To sum it up, yes I love Single Gloucester, I love the way it produces character and flavour in a unique single cheese ...and how it has shied away from over advertising from the self-praising advertising gurus.  For this I give this cheese a whopping 4 out of 5 and I recommend anyone to give this cheese a try.

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