British Cheese Week is upon us, which would have made me very happy since I love cheese, but since I became lactose intolerant, this is not such a happy event, in fact, it just serves to remind me that I can't eat (much) cheese.
However, I have been known to make the odd exception for cheeses that I love, and cheeses that are low in lactose (or virtually lactose free, such as hard aged cheeses).
Here's my top list of good British cheeses (but for cooking I almost always use Grana Padano, an Italian cheese very similar to parmesan with a strong flavour and hard texture):
- Black Bomber: A very very very strong Welsh cow's milk cheese with a black rind. Great for cheese sauces so you get the flavour without having too much fat or too stringy a sauce
- Cornish Yarg: A westcountry traditional cow's milk cheese covered in stinging nettles. I recently tried Yarg with wild garlic, accompanied by cider, which was just the most amazing taste combination, really complimentary. Although not as low in lactose as Black Bomber, I love it so much I allow myself a couple of small pieces and deal with minimal symptoms
- Applewood smoked cheddar: As it's a cheddar cheese, this is low in lactose and the tastiest smoked cheese ever! Perfect with crackers, but again, in moderation
- Lactofree cheeses: Semi-hard and soft (spreadable) cheeses with no lactose in, perfect for baking, sandwiches, topping pasta and pizza, with crackers, with cider, on toast, everywhere! The best thing about the Lactofree cheeses is that I don't have to limit myself!
I've also found lactose free versions of emmenthal and gouda in Europe, but that'll have to wait until European Cheese week ;) (By the way, Belgian cheeses are among the best in Europe, better even than French cheeses. If you ever get the chance, try them!)