Kibworth & Smeeton WI

We were pleased to welcome some visitors and two new members to our first face-to-face meeting on 9 September. With sensible precautions in place, members were able to relax and enjoy the evening. Our speaker was Ian Robertson, who entertained us with ‘Smile please, Say Cheese.’ He told us many interesting facts about cheese, with amusing jokes thrown in for good measure. Ian said that he was having trouble with some cheeses in the warm weather. Cheese is a living thing and he said that at the moment it was living like mad! The Brie was practically melting! (Actually, for my taste it was perfect!)

Cheese textures

Ian explained the techniques for producing two different textures. Cheeses having a solid texture, such as Leicester or Cheddar, are pressed to get rid of the whey. Others, such as Stilton, are allowed to ‘rest’ in moulds where they have drainage holes for the whey. They sink down naturally, giving a lighter, crumbly texture. When penicillin is added to create a blue cheese, it takes four to five months for it to mature ready for eating. A whole Double Gloucester is a heavyweight, but thankfully a smaller one is used for the annual cheese rolling down Cooper’s Hill!

Unusual flavours

One of the more unusual cheeses costs £400 and is made in Serbia from donkey milk! This, apparently, is to be enjoyed at special dinners! Among the hundreds of cheeses, we produce many interesting ones here, for example, Cornish Yarg is coated in nettles, others with garlic and herbs. A Charcoal Briquette is a creamy Gloucester, blackened with the addition of charcoal. It is delicious and stunning on a cheese board.

In small groups we were able to taste the samples invitingly set out. Cheeses were also available to be purchased. We all had a very enjoyable meeting and look forward to our next with ‘The Pumpkin Man.’ This meeting will be on Thursday 14 October at 7.30pm in the Grammar School Hall.

Pat Sharman