Stinking Bishop

This cheese is made locally – by Charles Martell at Laurel Farm in Dymock, Gloucestershire – and produced on a seriously small scale. It is vegetarian-safe.

(It recently enjoyed uberfame as a cheese favoured by Wallace & Gromit in the 2005 film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – and Charles Martell was offered assorted deals to produce the cheese on a much bigger scale to cope with demand. He refused them all, and continues to make cheese his own way and on his own scale. There was therefore a time when you couldn’t get this stuff for love nor money, but that has passed and it is now available, from my local farm shop among other places – and at a considerably more moderate price than advertised above!)

The first, and pretty much only thing to note is that the name is no joke.

This cheese stinks. My whole fridge stinks. My whole kitchen stinks. I’ve washed my hands and they still stink. Of old socks and really, really ripe cheese. Even a hardened cheese addict like me isn’t sure whether the smell is entirely welcome.

Still, the cheese tastes good. It is creamy, smooth, squishy and smelly-tasting. It is something like a very ripe Camembert, but somewhat softer, and (unlike a very ripe Camembert) does not taste like old socks at all. The flavour is mainly in the rind, and it is a real in-your-nose kind of taste, like eating really stinky cheese flowers. I’m not sure how else to describe it…

I ate mine ploughman’s style with granary toast, onion marmalade, and watercress. I liked it. If it wasn’t for the smell, there’s be no question whether to get it again – it was good.