The Cheeseboard – Ogleshield

food-cheeseWHEN customers ask for this cheese, they pronounce it one of two ways: “Oh-gleshield” or “Ogg-leshield”. I spoke with Jamie Montgomery, who makes this fine cheese in North Cadbury, Somerset and he says it’s Oh-gleshield. That’s settled, then.

Jamie’s celebrated unpasteurised cheddar, Montgomery, uses milk from his Friesian herds, while Ogleshield is made from the milk of his Jersey cows. Also unpasteurised, the cheese has a springy texture under the orange exterior and delivers creaminess and the slightly meaty flavour of rind-washed cheeses. It’s not as sticky as one might fear and rates low on the pungency scale!

The cheese came about through a series of coincidences: two visiting Americans started experimenting with the Jersey milk, prompting Jamie to refine their prototypes to create Jersey Shield, a Tomme-like cheese named after the Bronze age shield found in the excavations of Cadbury Castle. At Neal’s Yard Dairy in Borough Market, storeman Bill Oglethorpe started further brine washing and ripening the cheese to use as a raclette, and thus Ogleshield was born. It proved an instant hit with the hordes of urban foodies and, for a while, was unavailable elsewhere. Thankfully, nowadays supplies are more generous.

Ogleshield is a fabulous cheese that always seems to come into its own in the colder months. It can be served grilled with new potatoes, ham and cornichons as a raclette or devoured lustily as a table cheese.

It is a most versatile cooking cheese: we use it for tartiflettes and it is my favorite cheese for toasting – the saltiness of the rind gives a delicate crispiness under the grill that we term “cheese crackling”! Rose Prince of The Telegraph has a delightfully simple recipe for Ogleshield pastries that can be found online and which uses little more than puff pastry, Ogleshield, a sprig of thyme and egg for glazing.

A whole wheel of Ogleshield weighs 5 kilos – order a half wheel for a party centrepiece or just a slice to experiment with, but please do try it in a few different ways, even if only atop a hearty bowl of French Onion Soup!

Justin Tunstall, the Town Mill Cheesemonger, Lyme Regis