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Well now, "Cathedral City" eh? You do have to wonder whether the good people at Dairy Crest have *entirely* thought this one through. After all, there are quite a few cathedral cities in Britain, and - without wanting to cause any offence to their inhabitants - I think it's fair to say that some of them are, shall we say, more conventionally attractive than others. Wells and York conjure up one set of mental imagery; Derby and Bradford a rather different set... In fact it's made in Davidstow, a renowned location for cheesemaking but one rather noticeably devoid of a cathedral of any sort!
Since I'm an old-fashioned type, the Cathedral City I eat myself is brought to my very door by - yes! - a genuine milkman. He brings the milk as well, if it comes to that, and in proper (and environmentally friendly) glass bottles too: against all odds we still hold out here against the rising tide of Tesco plastic cartons. Besides, one thing cheese shares with milk is that it is bulky; if you can get someone else to do the heavy lifting then I'm all for that.
Especially if it's cheese. I absolutely love cheese, though it has to be the right sort, which generally means British-style hard cheese; I'm no fan of Camembert or Brie, nor even Stilton. Cheddar is the greatest of all cheeses, but its reputation has been damaged by some of the frankly insipid "mild" varieties on the shelves: I've no problem with mild cheese if it tastes of *something*, but some of them might as well be made of rubber! Thankfully Cathedral City does not fall into this trap, and for a mass-produced variety is very nice indeed.
The wrapper is a fairly unexciting beast, though that's not something that bothers me too much. The colour combination of deep orange-brown and, well, cheddar cheese colour is quite attractive, and the little drawing of a cathedral is entirely uninspired but workmanlike enough. The mildly waxy feel to the plastic stops it from feeling as though the cheese is going to sweat horribly, and in theory at least the packaging is resealable. I have to say that in my experience it's rather less resealable than it claims, and so usually I use the lower-tech solution of one of those little plastic ties when it goes back in the fridge.
Nutrition information, then, and for whatever reason this seems a slightly odd food to treat in this way; I suppose it's because I tend to think that this sort of statistical analysis sits more comfortably with processed food. Still, I can exclusively reveal that this product contains milk. So now you know. Mind you, if you needed me to tell you that then you probably ought to get someone else to do your food shopping! It contains hardly any sugar, but is high in fat and salt. Again - it's *cheese*; what do you expect? As for energy, you get 416 kcal per 100g, but not many people put away 100g of cheddar in one sitting...
This being a food review, it might be a good idea if I gave you all some opinion on what it's like to eat the stuff. I do so enjoy this part of the research! Opening the packet we get, first, a good strong aroma. Many brands of mass-produced cheese seem to have been sanitised to make them less smelly, thus entirely missing the point that this is a food where the whiffiness is part of the experience. The appearance isn't bad either: a nice, rich deep yellow. Farmhouse cheeses tend to have a less consistent look to them, and I miss that a little, but I suppose most people want to know what to expect each time.
Now, where's the cheese knife? Aha! Ritz biscuits out, add on a bit of butter (or sunflower spread, if you must) and follow it up with a nice generous chunk of the cheddar. At this point my mouth is watering and I'm trying to hurry up: always a good sign. And in it goes! "Mature yet mellow" the wrapper promised, and it lives up to the slogan rather well. The cheese is certainly smooth, and almost melts in your mouth rather than crumbling as really strong cheddar often does. The taste, like the look, is even and consistent, but is nevertheless interesting to make eating a small chunk on its own a reasonable proposition. All in all, nothing staggeringly exciting but certainly nothing to make you run away in fear either.
Cathedral City has its own website (which can be found at the cunningly chosen address of cathedralcity.co.uk), but unfortunately it's fallen into the all-too-common web-borne disease of comingsoon-itis, which I wish companies would realise causes a great deal of customer annoyance. How hard is it to keep the old site up until the new one's actually *finished*? All you get at the time of writing this is a front page showing off the range and a link to see their new advert on YouTube. I'm not *entirely* sure that's going to satisfy those actually looking for information rather than gimmickry, but there it is.
A quick scan of supermarkets has revealed that prices for this mature version of Cathedral City are all over the place, so it's definitely worth doing a bit of shopping around. The RRP for a 400g block seems to be around £3.88, and Sainsbury's will indeed relieve you of this amount, but take a trip to Asda and you'll find (at the time of writing, at least) the same product on sale for a mere £2.00, which is a chunky saving indeed. Even though it's not quite as interesting as an independent cheesemaker's output, for that price Cathedral City is mightily attractive.
not tried this one - mainly because I think it will be too strong for me, i much prefer mild or medium cheddar. Well reviewed
jonathanb 16.02.2010 20:47
Personally I'll see off pretty much all comers when it comes to cheese, but I agree that mild cheese is a bit of a waste of time. Cathedral City is quite nice, but still can't beat some good quality extra mature cheddar.
M.Newcastle 09.02.2010 11:57
I love this stuff. That 'see it want it' advert with the cheese on toast works every time! x