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Friday, 16 August 2013

Sampling Colwick cheese in the company of Jamie Oliver.

Tonight I went, on special invite. to Jamie Oliver's restaurant on Low Pavement in central Nottingham in my capacity as a passionate food writer/blogger. Jamies' company – Fresh One TV are making a new series of food programmes for Channel Four which, each week, are looking at a variety of food produced in Great Britain. This was part of the second series of Jamie and Jimmy's Food Fight Club. As part of these programmes there will be a weekly strand featuring a forgotten food of England which the presenters will be encouraging a return of. The aim is to revive classic British dishes and drinks that have disappeared from the public awareness and championing great local food in the process. For the filming tonight in the beautiful garden behind Jamie's Italian in Nottingham the food being celebrated and tasted was the historically very popular and versatile, Colwick cheese.

A food historian called Matthew O'Callaghan brought back this historic cheese (historically made as far back as the 1600s) after reading about it in a recipe book. He has re-introduced the cheese and it is now being manufactured at Belvoir Ridge Creamery in Leicestershire. The creamy cheese was shown to great acclaim at the Artisan Cheese Fair in May this year. The Colwick cheese is now being sold in Nottingham and North Leicestershire. (source: Nottingham Post).

The staff at Jamies were very professional and welcoming and going through the restaurant to the rear garden I could see Jamie Oliver in the distance doing one of his many filming sessions. The foodie folk who'd been invited to meet Jamie and sample the lovely Colwick cheese inspired dishes were starting to arrive and the weather was nice and sunny for the filming. I spied Rosie from Aubrey's crêperie in town and a few well known faces from the food world. We were all advised to temporarily take some shade and a drink of water while Jamie finished his shoot.

Whilst waiting I met a very interesting and friendly lady called Hilary who runs a Nottinghamshire based food business called Lings Lane Larder and she make jams, jellies, marmalades, fruit curds, chutneys and pickles. She said that she always uses the very best ingredients - some responsibly foraged from the wild, others from her garden as well as top quality imported citrus fruits from independent local greengrocers. The sugar and spices used in her products are all fairly traded, and she uses Aspall's vinegars made to traditional recipes in the county of Suffolk. Hilary is proud to be a member of the Slow Food Movement and is passionate about great food.

We had a right old chinwag and a laugh and she was lovely company with a great sense of humour. She told me that she has her eye on a particular medlar tree, the fruit being perfect for medlar jam. Medlars are a hardy fruit that look like a cross between a small apple and a rosehip and do make wonderful jam and jellies to accompany meats and cheeses.

Eventually there was some more filming done at various locations around the sunlit and dappled garden with us mingling foodie folk in the background, Jamie seemed very relaxed and friendly. At one point all the assembled guests were invited to sit down at the outdoor tables and the food items made with Colwick cheese made a grand entrance. There was much excitement and a big round of applause for our local cheese made from the milk of Red Poll cows.

On our table we sampled the creamy soft cheese coated in local honey with fresh figs and grapes and also some delicious Italian brushetta breads with continental ham, ripe tomatoes, basil and the Colwick cheese. All were very moreish! The filming carried on around us as we continued to enjoy the food. The couple opposite myself and Hilary will have a starring role as the woman was encouraged to be filmed feeding her husband some of the Colwick cheese on the bruschetta in a way that implied Summer romance.

Thanks to Fresh One TV for inviting me to a super summer's evening television shoot with Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty from Doherty's Farm.


Ken Devine said...

Great post! I'm not surprised you had a good time.

JEFT said...

Love Colwick cheese! My mum used to buy this regularly - but haven't been able to find it for years. I will ask my local cheese shop if they will stock it.

philip lowe said...

Hi Ken, good to hear from you and thanks for your nice comment. Yes I had a super time thanks.

philip lowe said...

JEFT: The cheese was really creamy. I will try and find out where it is stocked for you. Phil x

Karen said...

This cheese does sound good. And congrats for being picked to attend what must have been a wonderful event. You deserve it - you write so passionately about food. I still remember all those cafe/restaurant reviews you did a while back - & they encouraged us to try some of the places too.

philip lowe said...

Karen: It was a wonderful event. The perfect summer event you might call it with lots of interesting foodie folk and Jamie Oliver.

Jean said...

It sounds like a great evening with Jamie, who is fast becoming the food hero himself.
He's done a lot to raise awareness of all kinds of food issues, which I wholeheartedly applaud him for.
I will look out for the cheese when we are back in Derbyshire, it looks delicious. Tangy soft goats cheese is plentiful in this region of France ....... and I saw the French version of Jamie's magazine on a bookstall at Tours station the other day. I nearly picked one up to try to improve my French but then Nick's train from Paris arrived and it slipped my mind.