Pavé Cobble: a cheese of brawn and might
We had a cold lunch of salmon cured in beetroot and gin; various pâtés and mousses; and then a cheeseboard selected carelessly from what looked most interesting at our local deli.
The three cheeses were: Montagnolo (a German blue chesse); Renegade Monk (a British cows’ milk, hand washed in ale); and Pavé Cobble. A diverse selection, but none could be described as a blushing violet.
The Pavé Cobble had spread its contents generously around, its creamy white innards spilling out towards its companions. Our guest scooped some up, raised his eyebrows, and and exclaimed that it was definitely a cheese of some power, even in comparison to its robust mates.
We all agreed. We liked a bit of gamey strength but maybe this was a bit too much of a good thing, a bit overwhelming.
On the other hand, perhaps we hadn’t given the cheese a reasonable chance….it had spent the morning in the boot of a very hot car. This is a cheese that has won the approval of many, winning many categories in last year’s (2017) British cheese awards, including ‘Supreme Champion’. We should keep an open mind.
I wanted to be fair to this cheese, so I tried it again, a new cheese (obviously), and the texture was much more light and mousse-y and the flavour milder and more discreet, but still interesting. This is, in fact, a wonderful cheese.
Pavé Cobble is an unpasteurised sheeps’ cheese made by White Lake Cheese in Somerset. It’s a young cheese, dusted with wood ash (which encourages geotrichum and glaucum mould growth), and matured in flat-topped pyramid moulds for three weeks as it forms a rippled, cobblestone-textured silvery-grey rind which deepens into dark grey-greens and grey-blues.
White Lake Cheese is a partnership of cheesemaker, Peter Humphries, and goatherd, Roger Longman. Their cheesery began by specialising in goats’ cheese (among them the outstanding Rachel), but it now produces an outstanding range of goats’, cows’ and ewes’ cheese, including this Pavé Cobble which is made from milk from a herd only a few miles away.
Its intriguing name is derived from Longman’s enthusiasm for bike racing. In the spring he enters the competitions held in Belgium and France, stretches of which include cobbled roads. The prize is a cobble, but, understandably Longman preferred to reward himself with something softer and more palatable!
The rennet used to make Pavé Cobble is vegetable, so the cheese is suitable for vegetarians.