Cornish pastie makers were very particular indeed about their offerings when I attended the Great British Cheese Festival. That was in 2010 but it runs every year.
A genuine Cornish pasty like this one (above) has a distinctive ‘D’ shape and is crimped on one side, never on top. The texture of the filling for the pasty is chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), Swede or turnip, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning.
Texture was integral to all exhibits at the festival. Of the dozens of cheeses I tasted, texture contributed at least as much to the overall flavour as did the aroma, probably because the tasting portions were small cubes or dollops which retained their texture but aroma tended to be muted, especially in the huge tasting tent. Even pictures of most of the farmhouse, artisan cheeses accentuated the rough, hand-made texture of the cheese wheels, enough to make a visitor drool.
The people there who were devoted to Protecting the Authentic Taste of Cheddar (the Avengers-like acronym "Patch") seemed to acknowledge this: "the texture is firm with rinded cheese being slightly crumbly".
Montgomery’s Cheddar boasts of its "brittle, broken texture"; Keen’s notes that the process of "cheddaring" is itself texture-laden, meaning "texturing the curd by hand, cutting it into blocks, layering and turning it".
Even in the other, non-cheese tents, texture dominated, mostly in what foodies call "mouth feel", being the feeling you get when you chew a solid food or swish a drink around inside your mouth before you swallow.
Such was the case with (pictured above) the Olive Oil & Truffles exhibit, with Pen-Lon Cottage Brewer and with the other ciders and ales I tried at 11.30am (whew, early!). Texture especially applied to the balsamic dressing made by Lorna for Gilly’s Foods of Great Coxwell, because I tasted the dressing on crusty bread.
More shopping next week ...
JOHN COKLEY PhD loves journalism and has written for and produced newspapers, magazines, books, broadcasting and online content since 1981. This blog is about changing and improving journalism, making it more profitable and better quality, about encouraging citizen journalism, and leading the world out of the old journalism and into the new. Read more about John here: