Gorwydd Caerphilly: The Turducken of Cheese

Gorwydd Caerphilly
Gorwydd Caerphilly

If you only serve one cheese at Thanksgiving, let me make a suggestion: try Gorwydd Caerphilly (pronounced GOR-with CARE-fully).

Not only is it spectacular, it’s essentially three cheeses in one. If you want to have a little fun, treat your friends to a three-part tasting by giving everyone a thickish slice and instructing them to identify the three parts: (1) the rind, (2) the gooey layer below the rind, (3) the cakey white center.

All three components have distinctly different tastes. See, it is a turducken of a cheese. Here’s how to eat the sampling:

Bite #1: Begin by tasting the center; it’s all lemon sponge. This is the whitest part of the cheese and also the mildest. The texture is cakey, and the flavor calls to mind yogurt or crème fraiche — bright and milky.

Bite #2: Moving outward, you’ve got your gooey layer below the rind. It bulges a bit at room temperature and appears darker in color, with the same golden cast as a ripe Camembert. Take a nibble, and you’ll taste warm tones – sautéed mushrooms, roasted cauliflower.

Bite #3: On to the rind – which is edible. Here, you’ll taste earth, mushrooms, cave. Okay, it can be a little bitter, but that’s a good excuse to crack open some beer (try a citrusy ale or a dry cider).

Bite #4: Finally, eat all three layers together, and you’ll taste what makes cheese connoisseurs go crazy – a fracas of flavors and textures. It’s what makes this Caerphilly so special. A combination of light and dark, mild and wild, heavenly and earthly.

No, not all Caerphilly on the market tastes this good. Gorwydd Caerphilly is made by the Trethowan brothers of West Wales, who use a traditional recipe dating back to the 1830s. (Originally, this cheese was a favorite of coal miners who carried it in their lunch buckets down into the bowels of the planet.) The Trethowans learned to make this recipe for raw-milk Caerphilly from the late great Chris Duckett, a revered British cheesemaker. Neal’s Yard Dairy – Britain’s premier affineur – oversees the aging of the wheels.

So, when you bite into three layers of Caerphilly, you might say that you are tasting geologic time. It’s a layered cheese with layered flavors. Next time you make a gratin, try using Gorwydd Caerphilly – it’s also divine dropped into mashed potatoes.

For more cheese tasting ideas, visit Madame Fromage