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Vacherin du Mont d'Or & other cheeses [split from College student visiting London]

Hi Hounds, we split this from the other thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/501591 because we thought that this would give the cheese stuff more prominence. Enjoy. - The Chowhound Team

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Limster, I'm also a huge fan of Vacherin Mont D'Or, do you have a favourite producer/label or supplier? I normally get mine from Waitrose and more recently from French market stalls that have popped up in Swiss Cottage and Hampstead Village near where I live. I've also bought one from Selfridges Food Hall in the past. They also sell it at Wholefoods (and by the slice) but I haven't tried it. I haven't paid particularly close attention and like every version that I've sampled, where do you buy yours and have you detected nuances and differences in quality?

Btw, I discovered a cheese in Spain last year called Torta Canarejal, it's superb and reminded me a lot of Vacherin, but haven't been able to find it in London as yet. Apparently it's on the menu at El Bulli these days.

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  1. Haven't had any mont d'or in the UK this season, a friend in the States had quietly brought in a huge wheel (~40cm wide) and I already indulged there. But I've seen in at a number of "gourmet" stores around Balham and Clapham, including Trinity stores near the Balham tube stop that I like for a number of other things. I supposed you avoided the ones at whole foods because it was still sliceable. I've liked some of the cheeses I've had at La Fromagerie a couple of years ago, so that would probably be my first stop coming November.

    1 Reply
    1. re: limster

      BTW, one of the cheeses I liked was a St Nectaire at La Fromagerie a couple of years ago.

    2. I had some very good mont d'or earlier this month from the Richmond branch of the Teddington Cheese Shop. Very definitely not sliceable. Also had some rather tasty Dunsyre Blue from the same place (some Lanark Blue came home along with it; but cheese that actually makes your mouth go numb is just slightly too hardcore for me).

      Photo, maps, etc: http://london.randomness.org.uk/wiki....

      Not very handy for your end of town, though, I'm afraid.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Kake

        Thanks Kake and Limster. Not sure I have tried St Nectaire or Dunsyre Blue before, will give them a go. I am also on the London lookout for a Piedmont cheese called La Tur which I discovered in NYC, if you come across it please let me know. It's a mixed goat, sheep, cow milk cheese and is a delightful combination of textures and flavours. And have a tip for Black Bomber cheddar which is supposed to be even more flavourful than the famed Montgomerie, I checked their website and it's available at A Gold in Spitalfields as well as a few other places in and around London.

        Will also pay closer attention to producers/brands of VMD'Or moving forward.

        1. re: oonth

          Snowdonia Cheese was at the Chester Food Fair on Saturday. I'm normally a bit sniffy about producers who make flavoured cheese (or cheese with bits in). Black Bomber is, I think, their only unadulterated cheese. It's none too shabby and we bought some. But I wouldnt rate it more flavourful than a Montgomery.

          If you're after a really mature cheese in black wax, may I suggest you seek out a "bomb" of Shorrocks Lancashire. It's round and looks very much like a cartoon anarchist's bomb (if you see what I mean). Without doubt, my current "best cheese ever".

          J

          1. re: Harters

            Thanks John, I will do the cheddar taste test :-) and report back. Copious amounts of cheese is good for your waistline isn't it?

            1. re: oonth

              oonth

              We've now given the Black Bomber a serious "seeing to". It remains pretty good but, IMO, not as flavourful as a Montgomery. Texture is a bit odd - whilst it's obviously a hard cheese, it's not "well hard" as I'd expect a mature cheddar to be - more the texture of a more crumbly Lancashire or Cheshire.

              And, seeing as this is now a cheese thread, may I rave about a couple I bought from the Cheese Shop in Chester (a place that knocks spots off Neals Yard for the variety and quality of cheeses from this island).

              First is Sparkenhoe Red. A Red Leicester like you always hope a Red Leicester will taste. Creamy, crumbly, nutty, good "mouth feel". Made from unpasteurised milk and, apparently, the only cheese to be made currently in Leicestershire (the shop says there hasnt been one made in the county for 100 years).This really is fab.

              Second, is Llangloffan. Welsh - obviously from the name - full fat, organic unpasteurised milk. Tastes and breaks like a good Cheshire - certainly as good as the well known Appleby - not as good as Bourne's (which is the king of Cheshires, IMO - and one I can get at my local farmers market. They sell at Borough as well)

              Edit: just to be clear - it's Bourne's at Borough not Llangloffan)

          2. re: oonth

            I've bought La Tur from Whole Foods in the states, perhaps they might have that here too.

              1. re: howler

                Thanks. I didn't spot it when I was there last Friday. But then again by the time I got to the cheese shop, I had just spent the best part of 2 hours having a very good look around downstairs and my concentration was somewhat fuzzy.

                1. re: oonth

                  how would this vacherin compare to say...delice d'argengal? More or less soft/creamy in texture
                  thanks for all the site reviews...
                  the breakfast one sends me reeling though...perhaps they just give a bad couple of reviews...all of which I read.

                  1. re: wherethetreefalls

                    never heard of the delice cheese i'm afraid so can't do the comparative. VMD is a full fat soft cows milk cheese from the Alpine region of France, you slice the top rind off and spread onto a baguette or else you melt it and then do the same.

                    1. re: oonth

                      No need to melt a good Vacherin - it should be molten already.

            1. re: oonth

              I was brave and gave the Teddington Cheese Lanark Blue another go — it's a bit milder than the last one I had, which I _think_ came from the Croydon House of Fraser Food Hall (which is well worth a visit, especially if you (generic you) are one of those crazy people who think there is nothing worth eating in Croydon).

          3. I love Vacherin - they even sell it at Lidl in France for five euros! The French cheese stall at Borough doees a good one. I can't say I've noticed a huge difference in taste between the ones I've sampled.

            1. When it's simply impossible to access any of these lovely ideas, may I suggest the "Rustique" brand of Camembert? It's widely available (Tesco etc.), tastes great straight from the shelf, and I've never had a duff, chalky one.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Robin Joy

                We did a Camembert taste test in my French class a few months ago. The teacher wanted us to know the two different ways the cheese is produced in Normandie. One label says produit de Normandie and the other is produit en Normandie. One reflects that it was made, not in a factory, but the old-fashioned way. We all chose the factory method as testing better. I'm not sure which the Rustique brand is, but it looks yummy on their webpage.

                1. re: zuriga1

                  Interesting that it's about method. I would have guessed that the "en Normandie" implied it was simply made in Normandy, whereas the "de Normandie" I'd have guessed meant it was made in Normandy from Normandy milk

                  1. re: Harters

                    I had to check with a friend to get this all straight. De Normandie implies made the old-fashioned way with ladle. En Normandie is the factory-method. Both are made in that region - it's the method that determines what they can legally put on the label. It's the old method that doesn't use pasteurization... I think. :-)

              2. I had the most delicious brie-type cheese from La Fromagerie a while back - it was called Coulommiers and was incredibly creamy. I'm also a big fan of Epoisses - smells like a dead rat (you have to keep it in a sealed container), tastes divine. It must be taken out of the fridge several hours before eating though (like most good cheeses). I had some in New Orleans once and they served it straight out of the cooler. When I asked them why, they said it was because it "went runny and smelled bad otherwise". Er, quite.