Dad used to buy a lump of rubbery, so called cheddar cheese. He would slice it up and put it neatly on our plates, right next to the lettuce leaf with sugar coating, one or two slices of carrot, half a tomato and a slice of polony.
Later on, in another country, I graduated to cottage cheese, then ricotta and, finally, back to a cheddar. But not that cheddar, this time the cheddar of the Dutch, the Swiss, fine cheddars, in particular, mature cheddars.
That began a lifelong search for a perfect cheese.
Many months ago after I had harangued the good people at Ringwould Dairy once too often about my current favourite, the goat’s cheese Rosa, the cheese maker fronted me and said: Why don’t you make your own.
When my son and I arrived, Toni, the cheese maker, gave us our instructions: It’s not glamorous. It’s not easy. Here are your boots, capes and gloves.
I laughed: Who are we, Batman and Robin? No, she replied, you’re the cleaners.
And that’s what we did most of the day, watched, learnt and cleaned.
It’s not easy making Rosa. For a start, Toni had her hands and arms in a vat large enough to hold her and one other, swirling and mixing, for what seemed like hours.
When she got out of the vat, she put me in. And once that was done, there were other things to be done and after each thing got done, things had to be cleaned. And that’s what took up most of the day.
Last Saturday, when the delectable Rosa sat on my home table, it didn’t last anywhere near as long as the day we spent making it, or cleaning up after it.