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I heart cheese

I'll soon be off to the World Cheese Awards, to take my place on a panel of esteemed judges and cheese fanatics. The event is like the Olympics, Miss Universe and the Oscars all rolled into one cheesy ball of fun. This year the event is being held in Gran Canaria, and last night a little party was held to get us all in the mood. Iberica, a stylish Spanish temple of food and culture, was the venue. The menu was a showcase of award winning cheeses from past World Cheese competitions, and matched with Spanish wines.
You may wonder why the World Cheese awards are being held in Gran Canaria this year- a place not *particularly* known for its cheese, right? Wrong! The 2008 Supreme Champion (also known as THE BIG CHEESE) was Queso Arico Curado Pimenton, a mature goats cheese covered in paprika made in the Canary Islands. I suppose this makes the World Cheese Awards similar to the Eurovision Song Contest, too. The cheese itself is sweet, nutty and lightly spicy, slightly crumbly and infused with the goodness of goats raised on herby grass. It's so delicious you'll want to thank the goats personally.
Anyway, the highlight of the Tasting soiree was meeting Mary Quicke from Quickes Farm in Devon. Mary and her family make muslin wrapped cheddar, hard goats cheese, butter and all sorts of dairy goodies that regularly win awards, and are flippin' amazing. Mary was an oasis of calm in the party melee.
Here I am with Nigel Barden, he of Radio 2 foodie fame. Nigel and I are buddies from the glory days of GLR radio...we swapped cheesy stories of old times over a morsel of creamy, mild and crumbly Colston Bassett Stilton, winner of the 2008 Best English Cheese, and a glass of 30-yr old Oloroso. Life is good, eh?


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