Anna Juhl, founder and tour host of Cheese Journeys, which creates food travel opportunities around artisan cheeses while promoting the awareness of producers, serves as the guide throughout our nine-day Cheddar expedition through some of England’s most beautiful countryside in Devon and Somerset.
The planet is blessed with over 7,000 varieties of apples. From the ancient fruit-bearing trees of Britain and France to the northern most regions of Scandinavia to the far regions of Australia to the frostier parts of North America, apples cover the earth. It’s easy to see after biting into a sweet and juicy Pink Lady or a full of flavor Fuji, how every apple must be a good cider-making contender. Not so. Surprisingly, what tastes good might not be a good candidate for producing a delicious hard apple cider.
Gouda From The Netherlands is one of the world’s most popular cheeses, and one of Holland’s most renowned exports. It’s also a huge category that encompasses many styles, from artisanally-produced farmhouse cheeses to factory-made wheels. The format of Gouda can be small, gigantic or somewhere in between. Wheels can be crafted with cow, sheep or goat’s milk. For a cheese with such truly diverse varieties, one thing is consistent when it comes to Gouda—it’s a true crowd-pleaser. Kids, grownups, cheese lovers and devoted curd nerds seem to agree that this cheese is often fantastic and definitely craveable.
People like to throw around superlatives when talking about the colossus of curd clout, that holey wheel so familiar, it has its own emoji—Emmentaler. It’s been called the world’s largest cheese, Switzerland’s most popular and one of the U.S.’s most imported. And according to Alfred Rufer, vice director of the Emmentaler Appellation d’Origine Protegée (AOP), it’s also the most copied.
The nearest airport is the Pau Pyrenees, located in the commune of the department of Pyrenees-Atlantique, our entry into the Basque country and the place our search for the treasure called Jambon de Bayonne—one of the most exquisite dry-cured hams in the world—begins.
Remember that first cheese pairing when the combination of flavors transformed into something sublime on the palate, when a new world of textures and exotic impressions awakened the taste buds to combinations that didn’t seem plausible? In this age of “anything is possible” cheese lovers have a lot to look forward to when selecting pairings.