Troubador Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheeses

Released: 23/10/2020

eISBN: 9781800467927

Format: eBook

Review this Book

Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheeses

British Artisan Cheeses and their Producers

by

Do you know your Suffolk Blue from your Brighton Ewe? Perhaps you prefer Nanny Muffet to Dumpling? These are just four of the cheeses that are featured in Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheese. 


The first guide to do for cheese what wine guides have done for the best wines each year, Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheese is the most comprehensive collection of British artisan cheeses yet published, including eighty producer biographies and over 230 cheese profiles with compressive tasting notes, drink matches and photographs. The author personally visited every cheesemaker featured and is the founder of The Campaign for British Artisan Cheese. www.gimblettcheese.co.uk

Who could resist cheese tasting notes of "rice pudding, baked plum, apricot and Victorian sponge", "Brazil nut, pigeon breast and hay" or "seared chanterelle, wildflower with salted caramel"? Not me! This beautiful, wonderful and fascinating book is practically edible...the pictures and descriptions are that delectable!

The author, a cheesemaker himself, visited 80 producers and documents the 230+ cheeses they make. These are special people with drive and passion as cheese making usually doesn't make one rich. Reasons for creating artisan cheese and six ways we are stopped from doing it are listed at the back of the book.

Each section shows the cheese maker and describes the operation and the type/combination of milk(s) used. Different rinds such as nettles are discussed as is storage and other information. The next page(s) lists the cheese(s) and describes the type of milk, type of rennet used, age, style (soft, hard, etc.), size, producer websites and what to drink with the cheese.

Some of my favourite cheese names include Merry Wyfe, Blue Murder, Gallybagger and Miss Muffet. Of course you will find buffalo mozzarella, Wensleydale and Cheddar. Cheese is a big deal for me, especially artisan, and therefore when traveling always seek out the various local cheese which can vary from batch to batch depending on what the animal eats and weather.

I will definitely buy this book to place on my Cheese book shelf! If you are even just slightly interested in cheese you will learn a lot. And if you are an aficionado, you will be rabid about it! It is an excellent reference book you can pull out and look up information.

by NetGalley review


Do you know your Suffolk Blue from your Brighton Ewe? Perhaps you prefer Nanny Muffet to Dumpling? These are just four of the cheeses that are featured in Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheese.

The first guide to do for cheese what wine guides have done for the best wines each year, Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheese is the most comprehensive collection of British artisan cheeses yet published, including eighty producer biographies and over 230 cheese profiles with compressive tasting notes, drink matches and photographs. The author personally visited every cheesemaker featured and is the founder of The Campaign for British Artisan Cheese.

My favourite thing about being in the UK half of the time is THE CHEESE!!! (As is living by Borough Market and the food halls across the river!). I had read this book and wanted to review it here as it popped up as available on the North American version of Netgalley. I actually crave cheese - and eat an unhealthy amount of it and with this book, I can easily eat my way through the British cheese realm. (I hate Sunday roasts and gravy, I loathe beef gravy so I tend to make oooey gooey things as "sides" and eat them instead

The book is full of facts but also full of fun - I now have a list of about 700 cheeses that I want to fondue to mac and cheese with ... great, I may actually get a cholesterol problem. (Right now I have the cholesterol levels of a toddler, but that might change!) Cheese belongs on everything ... well, maybe not on poutine: poutine should just skip the gravy and add the fresh curds: in Quebec, they sell them at the gas stations, unrefrigerated, fresh from the cow that morning!

Love cheese? Get this book - you can even use it at a cheese monger's in Canada or the USA as many of the cheeses are imported there as well ... now I am off to have biscuits (baked, southern style, not the "cookie" kind), peaches, apricots and Stilton for lunch!

by NetGalley review


Gimblett's Guide is a brilliant A-Z of the people who make up Britain’s artisan cheese industry. Inspirational, even – it'll very likely make you want to buy out a dairy (or just some milk and a cheesecloth) and start churning.

A cheesemaker himself, with experience reaching much deeper into food and wine generally, Francis Gimblett certainly knows his stuff, providing an overview of where the nation’s cheese is, what it's gone through, and why we should look after it. This thinking has welcomely manifested into the 'Campaign for British Artisan Cheese'.

Francis also gets into the granular details of, for example, goat's milk vs cow's, or the benefits of milk from single herds. His tasting notes, while wonderfully descriptive, are, for me at least, sometimes rather impenetrable – ‘aromas of dried cream on a mat of pressed flowers’ is one that comes to mind.

Still, if you ever needed evidence as to the strength of British cheese’s remarkable small-batch industry, especially given the obstacles (war rationing, fluctuating milk prices, pasteurisation pressures) it's encountered along the way, then this is it.

by NetGalley review


Francis Gimblett has written a very enthusiastic and detailed guide to the best of British artisan cheeses.
He embarked on a journey taking 100 days round Britain visiting cheesemakers and tasting their cheeses.
The result is a comprehensive study of most of the hand-made cheeses produced in Britain today.
It is necessarily subjective with more weight given to some producers than others but it captures a vivid picture of enterprising folk striving to produce something unique and valuable in a largely sympathetic and sustainable manner.
It is an inspiration to read of the latest generation of cheesemakers who contribute so much to a growing movement of real food producers and their consumers.

by NetGalley review


If you are yourself a lover of excellent regional cheeses or know someone who is, please do consider picking up a copy of 'Gimblett's Guide to the Best of British Cheeses' by Francis Gimblett.

The understated and unassuming cover (the colour itself rather reminiscent of a young cheese rind) reveals a beautiful interior. This book would appeal to anyone with a fondness for cheese as well as cooks, chefs, restauranteurs, delicatessen owners, and food bloggers, and would do well at farmers' markets and cooking schools, as well.

While most guides (and certainly ones of this breadth) can feel rather encyclopaedic, the layout is very light-handed and artistic. The book opens with a guide to terminology and symbols (all nicely intuitive, but helpful to anyone less familiar with tasting guides) as well as a small introduction to cheesemaking methods and types of cheeses.

The guide is organised alphabetically, grouped by producer. I particularly like that the producers' splash page includes links to their social media and website, followed by a short but comprehensive biography. The cheeses produced are then listed in a succinct, classic single-page guidebook page featuring: Age At Release; Style; Rennet; Milk Type (including breed); Weight (of whole cheese); Shape; Tasting Note; Where To Buy; and What To Drink.

I'm an avid cheese lover (and on the lower end of the supertaster scale, meaning I get all the taste bud benefits without being as put off by strong / pungent flavours as some supertasters), and have tasted a rather embarrassing number of the offerings in this book. I have used the Bath Soft Cheese Company's offerings as my main assessment guide to Gimblett's accuracy (though of course, taste is extremely personal), as I have been eating these cheeses fairly regularly for years, am familiar with the producer from various farmers' markets, and their distribution is broad enough to be relatively accessible, at least throughout the South of England. Better yet, I had a couple in my fridge, ready to compare.

For 'Bath Soft Cheese', Gimblett mentions tasting notes of 'shitake mushroom', 'double cream', 'hazelnut', and 'white chocolate'. I pick up on all but the white chocolate, though there's something of the cocoa butter mouthfeel, so it isn't a far stretch. I pair this with off-dry whites, one of the wines Gimblett recommends; so far, so good.

The washed rind 'Merry Wyfe' warrants descriptions of 'sweet game, cep mushroom' and 'day-old sock' (in, says Gimblett, a 'delightful' way - and he isn't wrong) with the core including 'creamy hazelnut and vanilla'. I don't pick up much in the way of vanillin, though I do pick up a bit of toffee or, more accurately, crème brûlée. Like Gimblett, I find the cheese 'outstanding', and enjoy it with cider (one of his recommendations).

Other familiar cheeses match my recollection, and I'm very pleased to see the inclusion of some smaller producers from across the UK, many of which are new to me (and give me some new cheeses to explore).

I note (and perhaps I am mistaken) two Welsh producers. England is well-represented, and Scotland likewise. There appears to be only one offering from Northern Ireland. Many of the producers are from the South West, South East, and South of England, but these are also the regions most likely to distribute their cheeses the most widely.

All in all, an excellent guide book with spot-on reviews, a very pleasing and easy-to-read layout, and beautiful photography. Very much recommended.

by NetGalley review


If you like artisan cheese then this is the book for you! Francis Gimblett has taken the time to create this wonderful guide to a vast range of artisan cheeses from all over Britain. The introduction explains his tasting notes and how he scores each cheese. He has included cheeses using milk from cows, sheep, goats and buffalo. He explains the different primary categories of cheese e.g. fresh, unripened cheese; soft cheese; semi soft; semi hard and hard, as well as the secondary categories of bloomy rind; washed rind and blue cheese.
Each cheesemaker is listed alphabetically. He begins by giving a brief, interesting history of the cheesemakers and how they started out. Each of the included cheeses details its age at release; type of rennet; milk type; tasting notes; where to buy and what to drink with it. Alongside all of this is a great photo of the cheese.
At the end of the book there is a note about the Campaign for British Artisan Cheese. I know from experience that there are several artisan cheese subscriptions that support this cause. A fascinating book that will make you want to try out more unusual cheeses.

by NetGalley review


I am a passionate, obsessive cheese-lover with a goal of trying and documenting most every cheese that I can get. This book felt absolutely accessible for a layperson like me, but would also be great for a professional cheesemonger or cheesemaker. It's for anyone who loves cheese.

Gimblett's Guide is a straightforward who's-who of the best makers of British artisan cheeses. The book is loaded with bright, drool-worthy photographs. The author spends a page or two describing the cheesemakers and their work, then gets down to the business of describing their highlighted cheeses. There is a lot of fantastic information packed in here--80 cheesemaker biographies, over 230 detailed cheese profiles. These cheeses run the gamut in milks and types, with fairly balanced coverage. Whether you love or hate blues, or washed rinds, or goat, or sheep, or buffalo, there's a bit of everything. These are the best of the best.

Really, this book read like a big wish list for me. I felt like a child presented a Christmas catalog and who then proceeds to circle 95% of the toys. That is me, with cheese. Unfortunately, I am in America, so acquiring and tasting many of these cheeses will be a challenge--but one I am up to. I have tried a few of the cheeses before and heard of many others, and wow, this book introduced me to a lot more.

This is a worthy reference book to shelf alongside other trusty cheese manuals like Steven Jenkins's Cheese Primer and the Oxford Companion to Cheese.

by NetGalley review


Great book, beautifully laid out, succinct and great source of up to date information

by William Oglethorpe


A thoroughly enjoyable exploration of British cheese. Very detailed and encyclopaedic in its scale and scope.
Highly recommended for foodies and anyone interested in Britain's food heritage.

by NetGalley review


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