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The Renaissance Man is a troublesome creature – he most inconveniently has his birthday between Christmas and Valentines day, so by the time we get there I’ve usually run out of present ideas. This year I managed to surprise him though… He’s a big cheese fan, so rather than the usual chocolates or flowers I got him a box of lovely cheeses from the Fine Cheese Company. Here they are after we’d been attacking them for a while:

On the top left is the Vacherin Mont d’Or, a really gorgeous, unctuous cheese wrapped in spruce bark. You can really taste the resin in the cheese around the edge, but the middle is much creamier which makes a lovely contrast. To the right is the Shropshire Blue – really intense and earthy, but with none of the harshness that blue cheese can have. Oddly, it goes really well with cinnamon biscuits. On the bottom left is the Crottin de Chavignol, probably my least favourite of the selection. It’s a nice, hard, well flavoured goats cheese, but the rind has a mushroomy flavour which doesn’t really work for me. The last one is my favourite – the cave aged Premier Cru Gruyère Von Mühlenen. It’s a fabulously intense and savoury flavour, but with a slightly nutty sweetness too. Complex and glorious – I can see why it’s been named world champion cheese three times!