We like to think we have a one up on the French when it comes to rugby, but now we can offer some fierce competition in the cheese stakes, too. For the best of British fromage, step inside The Fine Cheese Co in Bath’s bohemian quarter. You’ll be welcomed with a wall of more than 100 handmade British varieties and owner Ann-Marie Dyas’s philosophy is to always seek out the best, and when you think you’ve found it, keep looking; after 25 years, it’s still a work in progress. Ann thinks of cheeses like her children – impossible to pick a favourite – but she does admit that a Manchego made from black-faced ewes is one of her top choices. Be sure to sample others such as buffalo-milk cheese Casatica, a 14-month-old Gruyère Affineur Walo and some traditional unpasteurised Somerset Cheddars such as Keens and Montgomery’s. We surely don’t need to tell you that wine and cheese is a marriage made in heaven, but branch out from port and Stilton to a chilled glass of Château de Jau’s Muscat de Rivesaltes 2005 with nutty Comté and you’ll never look back.
You get the impression that the knowledgeable staff enjoy educating as much as they do eating and sampling the produce with you. Other excellent pairings come in the form of Riesling grape juice from artisan producers Van Nahmen, the Serrats family’s salted anchovies, and Bodratos’ hand- dipped chocolates. For those who can’t wait to get it home, you can order a platter of ham and cheese next door in the café. The Fine Cheese Co exports to more than 50 countries and 600 delis and farm shops across the UK, and has just opened a new store in London’s Belgravia.
This article was published on 9th August 2016 so certain details may not be up to date.