Growing up, I was a big fan of the show Wallace and Gromit. I remember watching Wallace and Gromit in A Close Shave and the scene where Wallace is talking to his new friend Wendolene...
Wallace: Won't you come in? We were just about to have some cheese.
Wendolene: Oh no, not cheese. Sorry. Brings me out in a rash. Can't stand the stuff.
Wallace: [gulp] Not even Wensleydale?
As a kid, I really had no idea what Wensleydale was besides that fact that it was a cheese. But the name stuck with me through the years and when I was first introduced to Wensleydale as an adult, the first thing I thought of was - this was Wallace's favorite cheese! Apparently this stuck in a lot of peoples brains because in 1995 when this film was released, the sale of Wensleydale was suffering. After the show aired along with the full-length film in 2005, Wensleydale sales jumped and the cheese was saved!
Now allow me to formally introduce you to Hawes Wensleydale. This wonderful cheese hails from Yorkshire, England and is made of pasteurized cow's milk. During the making of this cheese, the curd is pressed which helps expel the excess whey and results in a firmer, drier cheese. The Wensleydale that you see above is the creamery made Wensleydale and not the factory made ones that you may see in other supermarkets. You can tell it's the real deal by the fact that it is bandage wrapped.
See the outer edge of the cheese? That is actually a cloth that is wrapped around the entire wheel of cheese as it is allowed to age. The cloth does add a bit of character to the cheese's taste in that you get some earthy, almost dusty notes as you get closer to the edge. As you go further in, away from the rind, you taste a wonderful creaminess with a hint of tang. I've heard it described as being reminiscent of buttermilk which I think is a good comparison. When I think of Wensleydale, I think of the "working man's lunch" where lunch used to entail a hearty cheese, crusty bread and a pint of ale. This cheese is a perfect partner for a nice beer or crisp hard cider. Another perk with Wensleydale is that it melts very nicely and doesn't have a very strong flavor, so it is a great cooking cheese.
We have plenty of Wensleydale in stock and would love to let you try a piece. Don't be shy to ask for a sample!
I wanted to share another quick photo... For those of you who are in the loop with the QR codes - I have one! My coworker Manny put together this little blurb and QR code for me. Thanks Manny!
I've been getting a really great response from this blog and I'm super excited that so many people want to learn about cheese! If you have any questions that have been bugging you when it comes to cheese or any particular cheeses you would like to learn more about, please email me at Leah.McFadden@wholefoods.com. I would love to answer any questions you may have. I hope to hear from some of you soon. Until then, eat, drink and be happy!