I haven’t been in Oxford very long, but I’ve already noticed quite an admiration for France – in culinary terms at any rate. Walk down the streets in the city center and you’ll come across many French-style bakeries selling croissants, crepes, baguettes…. Since I’m only in England for two weeks, I’m trying to avoid anything that I can find back home (except Dijon mustard – just couldn’t convince myself otherwise when it came to making salad dressing). This friendly “boycott” goes for cheese, too.
Thus, I headed to the Oxford Cheese Company (located in the Covered Market) to pick up some local cheeses. They have a wonderful selection and the young woman behind the counter was more than happy to point out her favorites. I ended up with five different types, and these two stood out as being especially worth trying:
This is an award winning blue cheese made from cow’s milk – and not nearly as strong as French Roquefort. It’s soft, creamy and has a salty tang. This is a fairly new cheese, created in 1993 as an alternative to stilton – and still made in a Stilton dairy.
The first cheddar originated in Cheddar Village in the county of Somerset, England. There is record that it was being made (and purchased by the King) back in the 12th century. Check out the British Cheese website for some interesting history – including the fact that Henry II once purchased 10,240 lbs. of it!
Marksbury Cheddar (from Somerset) is among the best cheddars I’ve ever tasted. It’s fairly strong and sharp. Although it’s a hard cheese, it seems to melt in your mouth. It really tastes like it came directly off a farm in England!
The cheddar was especially nice with the malt bread I picked up (a common find here in England).
Oxford Cheese Company
17 The Market
Oxford OX1 3DU
Tel: 01865 721 420