Cheese of the month – Bix
They say that good things come in small packages, and that couldn’t be more true of my latest cheese of the month – Bix.
Produced by Nettlebed Creamery based in Oxfordshire, Bix is a triple-cream cheese made with milk from Friesian, Swedish Red and Montbeliarde cows. It was awarded Best Soft White at the British Cheese Awards in 2018.
Bix shares similarities with famed French cheeses Chaource and Brillat Savarin. It has a similar rich and buttery taste and texture, which comes from the extra double cream that is added to the milk during production.
Nettlebed Creamery was established by Rose Grimond in 2015. The creamery produces three different cheeses (Bix, Highmoor, a mild washed rind cheese and Witheridge in Hay, which is a bit like a cheddar). As well as their cheeses they also produce and sell milk, kefir (a fermented milk drink) and ice-cream.
The farm was purchased by Rose’s grandfather in 1901 and in 1950 he set up the dairy. The farm went organic in 2001, which means it is dedicated to high standards of animal welfare. Their herd of organic cows spend as much time outside as possible and they have lots of space to roam and graze. This helps to ensure the animals are less prone to diseases and stress.
The herd has a mainly grass-based diet and the use of GM feed, pesticides, artificial colourings and preservatives are banned. Although the milk yield from organic herds is lower (typically around 20% less) the welfare and health of the animals is much greater and it allows for a much more sustainable way of farming.
|Matured for 3 weeks
|Strength and style of cheese
|Soft, creamy, wrinkled rind
|Creamy, buttery, lactic, mushroom, treacle
This little British beauty is a real stunner. It has a light lactic tang but without any sourness. It’s so buttery that it coats your mouth with a rich and creamy flavour. The rind is mushroomy and there are slight treacle notes to the delicate paste.
We matched the cheese with Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale. Paired with the beer, the cheese took on the flavours of delicious buttered cabbage and, despite its delicate nature, it still managed to hold its own against the ale.
For a special occasion, a triple-cream cheese like Bix is perfectly paired with a glass of Champagne or your favourite fizz of choice. The triple cream flavour works so well with the bubbles in fizz.
One of the simplest ways to enjoy a bloomy rind or mould-ripened cheese like Bix is to bake it whole in the oven. You can add your own favourite flavours to the cheese to make it even more special.
Remove the cheese from its wooden box and get rid of any wax paper or plastic wrapping. Make little slashes in the top of the cheese with a sharp knife and fill them with thin slivers of garlic and rosemary or thyme. Drizzle some white wine or honey over the top.
Another option is to slice the cheese horizontally through the middle and then add your fillings. You could go with the options above or add nuts like pistachios, walnuts or pine nuts. You could even add your own favourite chutney or some soft spreadable ‘nduja, crispy bacon or sautéed mushrooms to the middle. Once you’ve added your fillings of choice, sandwich the two halves of cheese back together.
Place the cheese back in the wooden box and bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Or, if the weather is good, it’s perfect to bake on the BBQ. Wrap the cheese tightly in a few layers of tin foil and cook on a cooler area of the BBQ for about 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, you could cook the cheese in a skillet, which is easier to keep your eye on so you can tell when it’s ready. Add some cherry tomatoes and good quality olive oil and it will melt into the cheese as it cooks.
Enjoy with some good quality crusty bread, raw veggies or sliced apples to dunk into that oozy cheesy goodness.