Glorious Food by Gill Potterton

Glorious Food by Gill Potterton

"Although Catering is my main business, I love to do Cookery Demonstrations and Tastings, as well as food writing for local publications, as this enables me to share my passion for good food with a wider audience."

In the Kitchen with Gill Potterton - All about Cheese

Tuesday, 3rd February 2009

RH1 Feb/Mar 09

I am certainly no cheese expert and cannot claim any great knowledge of the many, many different varieties available just in Britain, but I have researched various local cheeses over the years, to use in recipe development and to feature in cookery demonstrations. I also know that cheese, for many people, is a real comfort food, and although some folk are adventurous and try different cheeses, many are guilty of just sticking with the same old favourites. For me, the challenge is cooking with different cheeses, or developing a recipe around a newly-discovered cheese, to make best use of its qualities. Cooked cheese dishes, whether they are gourmet, dinner party-style ideas, or rustic comfort food for the family, should always be wonderfully flavoursome and satisfying.

But the dish will only be as good as the cheese you use. Buying cheese in supermarkets, you must beware the terms that mass-marketing has appropriated to give that ‘olde worlde’ patina to factory cheeses, such as “farmhouse, artisan or traditional”. Almost equally as meaningless is the “extra mature” on that packet of rubbery cheddar. Its been fed ‘hurry-up enzymes’ which is not quite the same as twenty months of natural aging for a cheddar hand-made by traditional methods. Happily the last two decades has seen an exciting resurgence of ‘real cheeses’, from independent producers, across the regions of Britain, who initially sell only very locally, perhaps via Farmers Markets, but due to growing demand are able to supply Delicatessens, Specialist Cheese Shops and other independent food outlets.

So whether you want to try some new cheeses, support local independent producers, perhaps present an adventurous cheeseboard at a dinner party, or even want to cook with a different cheese, you would benefit from some personal service and knowledgeable advice. Venture into your nearest specialist cheese shop or Delicatessen, where the staff are passionate about their cheeses and eager to share that passion, often offering tastings, before you buy.

The last few years has seen an encouraging number of Delis and specialist food shops opening in favoured locations, offering not only a well-stocked cheese counter, but all manner of other interesting items, and of course fresh produce, often from local or artisan producers. Freshly prepared take-away food from such an outlet presents a welcome alternative to existing high street Take-away or supermarket offerings for local lunchtime trade and for keen ‘foodies’ looking for something different. The most recent addition in our local area is ‘Cullenders Delicatessen and Foodstore’, in Linkfield Street, Redhill, opened by Marc and Joelle Cullender in November last year. It is a beautiful little shop, stocking local produce, including fresh milk delivered daily from Leigh, free range eggs from Newdigate and bread from Ardingly. Cullenders has a bright and cheerful atmosphere and personal service to match; the fact that it is open from 7.30am until 7.30pm is testament to Marc’s eagerness to meet breakfast, lunchtime and teatime requirements from local residents and passing trade.

Marc clearly knows his cheeses, confessing that his own favourite is constantly changing, and told me enthusiastically how demand is growing at Cullenders’ cheese counter. By far the most popular cheese for Christmas was the Brie de Meaux, and apparently 2.5kg wheels of this cheese were flying (or rolling) out of the door at a staggering rate of about one an hour! Marc is proud to stock many small artisan cheeses which cannot be found in supermarkets, and his current favourites (at the time of writing!) are Waterloo and Wigmore, a Guernsey cow’s milk and sheep’s milk cheese respectively, which are of a soft brie type, and full of flavour. The most locally-produced cheese he stocks is the stunning Norbury Blue cheese, which I have often used in recipes, with great results. It is widely available at Farm Shops and Delis in Surrey, and still taken out to Farmers Markets and food events by its maker, from Norbury Park Farm near Dorking. Marc tells me that the eagerly-awaited ‘Dirty Vicar’ cheese is soon to be launched from Norbury Park Farm, and will be available at Cullenders, so I shall look forward to cooking with that too. Keep an eye on my seasonal recipes posted on , or visit for more information about your new local Delicatessen.

Please call Gill on 07590 621015 to discuss your requirements or email


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