Heart-Shaped Cheese

IMG_1252Could you resist a shop with this sandwich board outside?  I couldn’t.  (The fact that I’d walked 2.6 miles uphill to get there also helped.  Yes, there are buses.  But in the words of one of my favourite (anti-)heroines, ‘Shopping is my cardio.’)

The originally named Cheeses in Muswell Hill is tucked into the corner of a Victorian arcade.  Walk fast along Fortis Green Road and you’d miss it – if it weren’t for that sandwich board.  Brimming with British cheese and special cheeses from around the world, condiments and crackers to go with them, and special sausages and gorgeous-looking chocolates, it’s run by staff who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and kind, without a trace of that snootiness you might find in other cheese shops.  (My dad was once told by a horrified purveyor of fine cheeses, ‘Chaource is not a cheese!’).

At this time of year it’s also stacked with boxes ready for the Christmas rush, full of specially-ordered festive cheeses, waiting to adorn the tables of parties and feasts.

IMG_1254I’d gone in search of a cheese to pair with two chutneys as part of a Christmas box for my uncle.  I wanted something robust but not complicated, which wouldn’t fight with the flavours of the pickles, and was well-wrapped or potted so it would keep quietly for two weeks without making its stinky presence felt amongst the other presents.  Other customers were piling in excitedly in search of the truffled brie which had just come in, already threatening to creep its way across the counter, or the delicious looking Vacherin Mont D’or.

IMG_1261Boxes of Stilton stacked outside waiting for Christmas.  I’ve always loved the idea of a whole Stilton for Christmas, but I’m not sure I’d still want to be eating it in July!

I left with a heart-shaped Godminster Cheddar, wrapped in purple wax for safe keeping until Christmas, and an end of Stilton to stir into my broccoli soup.  The man in front of me bought £78 worth of cheese, his weekly haul!  (‘Cheese is my blood!’ he announced, telling the not-remotely-interested-but-trying-very-sweetly-not-to-show-it shopgirl as she wrestled with his growing pile of truculent cheeses, that his grandmother was from Cheddar.  I, looking at his girth and the large bag of prescription pills tucked under his arm, thought it probably was.)

I could easily have done the same, though.  Everywhere you look there are increasingly enticing morsels of cheese.

IMG_1256And if my next trip involves a 5.2 mile round trip walk, I think I might just have earned it!


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9 Responses to Heart-Shaped Cheese

  1. Tabitha says:

    Brilliant sandwich board, I love their tiles on the floor and on the shop front, my husband would love this shop, he has just discovered cheese this year, for his birthday in January I am making him a hamper of cheeses!

    Oh and haggis and fried egg? I want it, I want it!

  2. rusty duck says:

    I love cheese. I even prefer it to chocolate. If I eat it with oat biscuits does that make it OK? Thought not. :(

  3. ara jane says:

    first off: thanks for all the cheese talk! it made me remember that I had some leftover triple cream from book club last night so i went to get myself a snack as soon as I started reading your post. secondly: thanks for that SATC article link. i’ve always loved the show and it’s nice to be reminded why it was actually really good and thoughtful (instead of having to think about the craptasticity that was the movies). thirdly: it’s so nice to see you back here!

  4. Philippa says:

    Thank you! Lovely to see you too! How is the bump? And thanks for vindicating my SATC love. I learnt a lot from the shows, most of it good (although my unhealthy attitude to overpriced shoes, probably not so much). (Ignoring, as you say, the films. [Shudder]).

    Isn’t it odd how cheese is contagious? Like yawns and laughing. I suddenly found myself rootling through the fridge in search of some halloumi to grill while writing this post … for breakfast.

  5. Jacquetta says:

    Oh dear I am now going to be singing that all day

  6. Jen Lawrence says:

    The melding of cheese and Eurythmics lyrics would have pulled me in too. I’ve been addicted to Comte lately and a disproportionate amount of my grocery budget is used to fuel my habit. But now I have Stilton on the brain…

  7. Haggis and fried egg is just my kind of meal, innards and eggars

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