After years of struggling to buy cheese in Asia, I’m still amazed by the variety available in Britain. My need for cheese and my lack of knowledge about it are being addressed by my cheese subscription box from Pong Cheese. The second of the three I signed up for arrived last month. Although it’s been hard finding time to cook and write over the past few months after my son was born, this morning I tried the last of the five. The five types of cheese were: il Nocciolo, Rosary Goats Cheese Ash Button, Brighton Blue, Sussex Saint Giles, and a Black Sheep.
As we had never had any, the whole house was excited to try. We were, perhaps, a little disappointed. The reason for signing up to the subscription box was to support British cheesemakers. The most outstanding cheeses have been, so far, Brillat Savarin in the first box, and this time an Italian one: il Nocciolo. That’s not to say the English cheeses weren't tasty. They were. However, the other reason for the slight disappointment was the realisation that if each cheese costs around £3, with the most expensive being a Black Sheep at $5.85, then it costs £29 for only £15 of cheese.
We tried a cheese plate after dinner with two of the cheeses. The il Nocciolo was sensational. The majority of the time, however, I toasted the cheese. On toast, the cheese was good. The Black Sheep in an omelette was a surprising hit with my daughter. I mixed the cheese with ham and lightly caramelised onions. This was the first time she has eaten an omelette and enjoyed it.
Rosary Goats Cheese Ash Button on toast
Black Sheep omelette
Were the cheeses worth £29? The cost obviously includes postage and marketing and wages. In this sense, I’m not only supporting cheesemakers but also a business. However, we have a cheese van at the local market. Is £15 worth of cheese from Pong cheese better than £15 from the local market stall?
The market stall had more cheeses from the local area. I could also request more goat cheese. I could ask questions, and it was more personalised. In addition to the market, we also have a local supermarket and a Marks and Spencer’s food. I’ve yet to see what £15 will buy from their cheese counters. My plan is to try one each month, see what the third Pong Cheese box includes, then decide whether to continue my subscription.