Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Cheesey Chocolates

Well, it’s been a tremendously exciting week. Chris Evans was discussing the pros and cons of cheese chocolates on his show yesterday morning so I sent them a quick e mail about the little cottage industry I am developing here at Ford Farm.

They gave our cheese chocolates a a mention which is great but I’m pushing the boat out and taking it one step further by sending chris a selection of my hand made cheese chocolates to taste, too.

Got to strike while the iron’s hot so nipped down to Tesco to buy armfuls of chocolate. Fortunately, the husband had brought home some cheese the day before so the fridge is amply stocked with Ford Farm’s hand made Wensleydale & Cranberry, Dorset Red, Stilton and Apricot and Cheddar with Port & Wine.

I melted down a variety of chocolate on the Aga and got to work straight away, dipping Coastal Cheddar into Milk Chocolate (the sweetness of the milk chocolate really draws out the delicious salty flavour of Coastal). I dipped the fruity cheeses into a variety of different chocolates (milk, plain and white) as they go with pretty much any type of chocolate. I added some chilli to the smoked Dorset Red. Wow, that fiery taste really creeps up on you but it is truly delish. (OK, I admit it. I had to taste a few before sending them off. After all, I’ve got to make sure they’re up to their job – right? The fact I am a cheese and chocoholic is another story).

So, let's await Chris's verdict, if indeed he has one. They should arrive for tomorrow morning’s show. Fingers crossed!

To find out more about my cheese chocolates and my cheese wedding cakes, visit the Ford Farm website at

PS - Also showed the chocolates to friends colleges and family to guage their reaction too. The response was overwhelming. Thank you kind people.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

So who in their right minds would want to sacrifice a deliciously sweet, moist, fruity, towering and extravagantly rich, wedding cake for one made from cheese on their wedding day? Only a fruit and nut case you may think (and according to a recent survey conducted into cheese etiquette, fruit and nuts are a much better accompaniment to cheese than the more commonly thought of celery stick).

Well, me for one. But why would you value my opinion? Well spare me just five minutes of your time and you never know, you may choose to take into account the musings of a seasoned Cordon Bleu Chef (trained in London) who has worked the wedding circuit pretty much all of her life. From Country Marque traditional ones to a themed Goth Ceremony conducted 200 feet underground in the caves at Wookey Hole in Somerset where the bride arrived at her wedding in a hearse!

OK, I may be a little brainwashed too. I live and breathe cheese and love it with a passion. And it's no coincidence that I also happen to share my life with one of Dorset's leading cheese makers, Mike Pullin of Ford Farm.

But why else would a cheese wedding cake get my vote? Well darlings. Let's face it. Isn't the very point of a wedding to out do everyone else's? We all want to have a wedding cake to remember but a traditional fruit cake is just so last year. A cheesey alternative is infinitely more de rigeur. So it might cause all your guests to twitter in the aisle, and though your in-laws might appear outraged on the surface, you can bet they'll all be talking about your departure from the norm for years to come.

On a more serious note, a cheese wedding cake, believe it or not, can be much more cost effective than a traditional cake. Not only because you can roll the cheese and the cake course into one but also because you don't have to be a Cordon Bleu Chef to create something that looks and tastes spectacular. Cheese is so versatile and much more useful than a piece of expensive sweet cake that no one really wants after their wedding breakfast.

Let's face it. At the present time, we are all having to tighten our belts. And with the cost of weddings now averaging £11,000, anything that stems the flow of the coffers is going to be welcome news.

Follow this quick guide and you can prepare your own cheese wedding cake to fit even the tightest of budgets.

You can either opt for the basic cheese tower or you can be as adventurous as you like. After all, this is your special day, and your special cheese cake.

The truth is that you can use any kind of cheese for you wedding cake. The sky's the limit in terms of choice. And contrary to what you may think, you can also decorate it as you like. A cheese cake can be waxed, royal iced or fondant iced.

Choose your wedding cheese from a local cheese maker and your guests will appreciate your commitment to buying local. At Ford Farm, all the cheese is made to traditional recipes that date back hundreds of years and all our cheese is made from milk from local herds which graze on the beautiful rolling Dorset Downs.

We'll be able to help you choose your cheese. For a basic cake you will need three differently sized wheels to create your wedding cake tiers.

Thought needs to go into the type and softness of cheese you use. A runny cheese such as a brie or camembert may spoil if kept out for too long and the resulting pong may end up being more memorable than the cake. Your best bet (and most economical one, too) is to opt for firm cheeses which will keep their shape and are easier to work with.

Choose different strenghts and flavours as you would a regular cheeseboard. And place them in order. The base wheel should be the most popular variety such as a Farmhouse Cheddar, perhaps followed by a stilton and then topped with a fruity, blended variety such as a Wensleydale and Cranberry.

Choose your different colours, textures and flavours. Firm cheeses are available in lots of different colours (white, brown and even green just for starters!) and flavours (herb, garlic, sweet, fruity). You may wish to choose a cheese with a rind as this will really make the cake stand out visually. Ford Farm makes a fabulous smoked cheese called Dorset Red which has a wonderfully rich, amber-coloured rind.

Personally, I'm not a fancy pants wedding cake person and prefer the rustic look. Frosted fruit, some delicate flowers and toasted nuts in my opinion is really all you need for decoration. For some extra glitz and glamour, I sprinkle the fruit with edible glitter which really completes the look.

So there you have it. Lots of cheesey ideas to get you going.....

To find out more about Ford Farm's Cheese Wedding Cakes, visit the website at