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Branzi

30/07/2010
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One of the tastiest cheeses on the bench right now is Branzi, packed full of creamy, sharp-sweet notes – an initial fruitiness developing into a rich, earthy piquancy reminiscent of wild mushrooms and fresh thyme.

At an age of four months, the Branzi we currently stock shares many characteristics with a classic Emmenthal, retaining the excellent melting qualities while offering a superior depth of flavour. Although a classic Lombardy recipe is to melt it on top of discs of polenta (fantastic served alongside a tomato jam), Branzi’s uses don’t stop there: whether served as an addition to a lunch of crusty bread, salami and fresh fruit or used to create a luxurious fondue with a smooth piquancy, this is an example of classic Italian Alpine cheese at its very best.

We can’t recommend this enough right now, drop by for a taste!

Colston Bassett Stilton

24/06/2010

We’d like to draw your attention to our classic Stilton, widely regarded as the best Britain has to offer. Right now as good as it’s been since Christmas, our Stilton is fruity and creamy with a subtle piquancy at the finish, justifying its status as an undisputed treasure. Served with some fresh, crisp fruit and a spot of chutney for lunch, or as an iconic climax to a memorable meal, we honestly cannot get enough of this at the moment!

Below we serve a slice alongside a dab of beetroot and apple chutney.

S.S. dei Naufragati, East Lothian.

25/05/2010

You may have noticed the long line of eager customers waiting patiently to pick up the freshest cheeses imaginable from S.S. dei Naufragati at the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market on a Saturday; we receive a delivery of their delicious mozzarella fiordilatte, ricotta and scamorza affumicata every week. Based in Gifford, East Lothian, Adriana Alonzi and Gabriele Caputo have built up a formidable reputation for the finest Italian-style produce, our entire stock regularly selling out within a day of arrival. Their local cheeses are the perfect warm weather treats, ideal additions to any picnic or meal in the sun. We’ve included some of our favourite (and simplest) warm weather recipes below, enjoy!

Ricotta, jamon iberico, broad beans and piquillo peppers.

Place the ricotta in the centre of a large plate, decorate with a few sprigs of fresh marjoram and drizzle a little fruity olive oil over the top. Arrange freshly steamed broad beans, thin slices of jamon iberico and strips of the fried, sweet pepper around the the cheese then get your friends to dig in! A personal tip would be to roll a little of the ricotta, pepper and broad bean up in a slice of iberico and devour in one.

Ross’ Edinburgh salad (inspired, loosely, by insalata Caprese).

I recently had the good fortune of having a Saturday away from the shop, last weekend so a trip to the farmers market was on the cards. It had been a while since I strolled through the market, so was drooling at the thought of all the local produce on offer. I picked up some local vine ripened tomatoes and a couple of balls of S.S dei Naufragati’s mozzarella fiordilatte, made just the day before. Thickly slice ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, drizzle extra virgin olive oil, check the seasoning and serve.

Ragstone and pickled red onion on toast.

Ragstone, a goats cheese made by Neal’s Yard Creamery, is the perfect grilling cheese, firm, sweet and with a delectable tang that stands up well to the lightly pickled red onion.

First prepare the pickled red onion. Boil 100ml red wine vinegar, a heaped tablespoon of sugar, a bay leaf and a teaspoon of juniper berries in a pan for 1 minute, then add two thinly sliced red onions, simmer for another minute then leave to cool. Slice the Ragstone  into thin discs, place on some lightly toasted bread and slide under a blistering hot grill, allowing the goats cheese to turn a pale gold. Top with the pickled red onion slices and serve with a cool Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc for the perfect starter or indulgent snack.

Lanark Blue.

25/05/2010

Lanark Blue, the infamous ewe’s milk cheese made by Humphrey Errington, has entered its spring phase – it’s currently zesty, moist and subtly sweet while retaining that inimitable salty depth. Right now it’s a real show-stopper, perfect served with a dollop of heather honey alongside a thick, crumbly oatcake and, if you’re so inclined, a nip of your favourite single malt.

Spring Lanark Blue

This appears to be an excellent time for blue cheese in general. Strathdon, with it’s inherent pepperiness and cooling creaminess is delicious, as is the rich yet somewhat milder, salty Cashel, both excellent additions to any cheeseboard.

Huntly Herbs: a selection of organic chutneys from Aberdeenshire.

23/04/2010

We’d like to draw your attention to an excellent range of Scottish chutneys new to Mellis, lovingly created by Huntly Herbs, an Aberdeenshire nursery growing over 100 varieties of herbs. The five varieties in stock are Beetroot and Apple, Coriander, Tarragon, Traditional Marrow and Strathbogie Sizzler, all organic and handmade, using the nursery’s produce.

Tuck into the Strathbogie Sizzler – a blend of courgette, sultanas, chilli and garlic – with a thick wedge of tangy Isle of Mull cheddar, as Ross does below, while the Beetroot and Apple sits perfectly (and offers a vivid colour-contrast) with a chunk of creamy Blarliath.

Ross sampling Strathbogie Sizzler with Isle of Mull cheddar.

An array of new Italian cheeses.

23/04/2010

An exciting selection of Italian cheeses from the gastronomic hotspots of Piedmont, Lombardy and Puglia arrived at Mellis this week. Ranging from the silky smooth pair of Robiolas modelled by Kirsty below, through an unctuous, lavish Gorgonzola and Mascarpone torta to two firmer, sophisticated cheeses from the mountainous north, we insist you drop by and sample these delights today.

Robiola ai tre Latte, Kirsty Macdonald and Robiola di Capra

Particularly spectacular (and by far the most indulgent) is the Burrata (meaning ‘buttered’): a heady, extravagant mix of cow’s milk mozzarella – offering a slight lactic bite – alongside fresh, rich Pugliese cream. Perfect for a warm sunny day’s lunch, serve with ripe juicy tomatoes, salty olives, some fresh marjoram and a drop or two of your favourite vinegar for the ultimate treat.

We would also recommend sitting it triumphantly on top of warm crusty bread, or stirred through fresh tagliatelle with a spoonful of capers and some cracked black pepper.

Below are the two firmer cheeses, both excellent additions to the weekend cheeseboard. The first, Branzi, made north of Bergamo and Milan, is normally aged for somewhere between two and three months. Ours is matured for closer to seven, creating a rich, complex bite of great integrity.

Maccagno, seen as the king of Tomas, shares certain characteristics with the classic Tomme de Savoie – rustic, comforting, a soft elasticity and fantastic to snack on – and as such is a must try for any Alpine cheese enthusiast.

Good right now 15.04.10: Queso Azul de Valdeon.

15/04/2010

Queso Azul de Valdeon with Membrillo

This Spanish blue cheese made with a blend of goat and cow’s milk packs a peppery, spicy punch, offset somewhat by the creamy goatiness of the pate. Partnered with our finest membrillo – a quince concoction from the Basque region – there are few better ways to cap a memorable meal, as this customer is soon to find out!