Adventures in Cheese

A chronicle of my journey to London to work in a well-known British cheese shop.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Under the Arch

Down a dismal dark street, between car mechanics, mattress wholesalers, and furniture refinishers, hides Neal's Yard's ripening facility. The warehouse sits beneath the arches of a railway bridge giving it an appropriately cave-like shape as well as a frequent, disconcerting rattle.

It is here that affineur, Bill Oglethorpe, and his various assistants receive cheeses from area farms and care for them until they're ready to be sold. To prevent undesirable bacteria and mold transfer and to provide them each with their optimal climate, soft cheeses are divided into different coolers by type. The delicate goat's cheeses live together, as do the washed rinds with their eye-stinging exhalations of ammonia.

(right: St. Jameses developing in the washed-rind cave.)

The pace at The Arch couldn't be more different from that of the shop. My first task upon arriving was to pat down the white mold (or Penicillium candidum) on the fuzzy soft-ripened cheeses. It feels like suede and one could easily fall into a trance while patting and turning. The rinds tear easily though, so lapses of attention can be perilous. An unwanted mold, Mucor, had also appeared on some of the cheeses. Soft and grey like cat's fur, it too needed to be dampened down.

(right: Cheesemaker Mary Holbrook cares for a shipment of young Dorstones from Herefordshire.)

Hard cheeses are less critical patients. In fact, they are frequently moved about by means of a sporting toss.

(left: Tom and Vio practice the Overhead Crockhamdale Pitch. )


At 4:47 PM, Blogger Peter Egan said...

Toss me one of them cheeses.
Big Pete

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Meredith said...

How beautiful Lindsey. I love reading your cheese journal. I wish I was there to be your taster. :<) We had a holiday party this past Saturday with a small sampling of cheeses but nothing close to what you have there.

One question though - as much as I'm enjoying learning about the cheese process are you going to post anything about any of your extracurricular activities? I need updates! and did you disconnect your email? My email to you was returned with a message saying the account was temporarily disabled.


At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Louis said...

Hey, same initial girl
We miss you
Cheese is good, mmmmkay

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Christmas from your Saturday morning Brit regular in Sarasota!
Love the blog!

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Lindsey Schechter said...

Thanks, Peter!

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have an outstanding good and well structured site. I enjoyed browsing through it »


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