Fàilte gu na h-Alba! Aye, it’s taken more than a mere train to get me over to this isle. I left Germany (temporarily) and my pace will slow a bit over the next three days as I soak up all thing Scottish, and you know if it’s not Scottish…
I had a full day to explore Edinburgh and made sure to pop into Iain J. Mellis’s shop. When I lived here briefly in 2007, I learnt the nickname for this place was “Smellis” because it does indeed have quite the aroma wafting out its door. I had a good look over the plethora of cheeses available and with advice from the counter clerks, made a selection of three.
I remembered that my cousin Rubi (who was coincidentally visiting the States at present) had told me that she was more a fan of British Bries than French ones, so I decided to try the Clava Brie, made in Inverness-shire. I think she said there was less of an ammonia-like flavor to the local ones. With this one, though, while it was fine, I did not think it was as good as other Bries I’d previously sampled.
Bonnet, a goat cheese of Ayrshire origins, proved to be definitely reminiscent of other goat cheeses in its flavor, even though it had a much more firm texture. There was a light bite to it, which is generally the case with these types of cheeses.
Finally, there was Auld Reekie, which references Edinburgh’s nickname of old, from when the stench of the sewers and smog overwhelmed the capital. I believe I can tolerate some stinky cheese over that smell any day. How about you? In spite of its pungent name, this was my favorite of the bunch as it had been smoked up in Aberdeenshire. Obviously, its reeky quality comes from its smokey aroma rather than anything to do with sewage–thank goodness! There is even a sort of whisky-like flavor to it, which in my mind makes it all the more Scottish. (Note: Scottish whisky is spelt without an e between the k and y, unlike its Irish counterpart).
These cheeses were consumed over a few meals during my stay out at Rubi’s place, which lies between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Then, on my way back to A’ Ghearmailt, I grabbed a simple tea from M&S and I thought to myself that Wallace would approve of it as the sandwich featured his beloved Wensleydale cheese!
In general, I find it both easy and exciting to be a cheese-loving vegetarian in Scotland. The options are abundant and all quite tasty. I relish every opportunity to sample their wide variety of turophilic tidbits. I hope it won’t be too long until I find myself back in this auld stinky, in all the right ways, land.