In spite of it’s fickle nature or possibly because of it, the Manchester is my favorite cheese. Inspired by a great cheese from southern Wales, the Manchester is a double cream cheese coated with a flavorful mold rind. A double cream cheese is a cheese produced from milk that has had cream added to it, so that the resulting cheese is at or above 60% butterfat.
The mold that grows on the surface is one of the main sources of the uniqueness and somewhat unpredictable nature of the Manchester. The stark white mold that you see on Brie, Camembert and many others is penicillium candidum. It was developed and gained popularity because it is very sturdy and predictable. It is also very aggressive and wards off the development of wild molds (these are the multicolored molds that you may see on many cheeses). Penicillum Candidum also has the property off breaking down proteins as they develop and this is the action that helps make a brie get creamy when ripe. It’s flavor is also somewhat unobtrusive and mild.
The Manchester is coated with Geotrichum Candidum which is buttery yellow in color, does not break down proteins, but does break down fats. Geo as it’s commonly referred to (since everyone seems to pronounce it differently) is not particularly efficient at warding of wild molds, so it is not uncommon to see spots of blue, yellow or brown spots after the cheese has aged several weeks. By breaking down fats, geo releases a tremendous amount of flavor as the cheese ages. It is anything but unobtrusive and at times can challenge the taste buds.
A dramatic way to serve the Manchester for Thanksgiving is to split the cheese horizontally (unflavored dental floss works extremely well) put a mixture of fig or plum preserve, toasted nuts and dried fruit on the cut face of the cheese. Place the top back on and cover the entire cheese with puff pastry. You need to seal the puff pastry well to avoid leakage. Then place the cheese in the oven and bake until the pastry is lightly browned and serve. I like to bake it at a low temperature (325) to keep the pastry from puffing out too much and by pulling it out when the pastry is lightly browned, the cheese is softened and not liquified. You can also place the cheese in the freezer for an hour before wrapping it to help keep the cheese from melting too much.
To serve the Manchester always let it come to room temperature (this is true for all cheeses) then try it with plum preserves or chutney on course ground oatcakes.
Gelato has gone airborne through the New Year. That means that you can get or give a gelato sampler case. To check out the available package just follow Gelato-By-Mail For a complete description of flavors and what makes them special see our gelato section. I will say that there is no better combination than our Peppermint and our Dark Chocolate.
Holiday Gathering Gelato Half Gallons-okay it’s a real mouthful, but through the holidays, the Creamery is offering half gallons of Vanilla, Chocolate and our seasonal favorites Peppermint and Pumpkin.
Coming Soon Great Lakes Cheshire! The first of our Cheshires will be ready in early December. This full flavored raw milk cheese will be available in very limited quantities until after the first of the year. As soon as it’s available we’d love to have you come by the Creamery or Zingerman’s Deli for a taste.