Thirteen cheese lovers and one dog met up at The British Cheese Centre in the Zurich Viaduct Markthalle, for what has now become for some of us an annual event of enjoying British cheese and fine drinks.
Mike Fontana-Jones, the British owner, has the largest selection of quality British cheeses in the world outside of London and boosts between 40 and 70 varieties at any one time. Our sampling evening started with two old favourites, a cheddar, which is his best seller, and a stilton. The other cheese he selected was Baron Bigod, a soft cheese from Suffolk, that he boosted a Frenchman comes to buy as it is comparable to the best French soft cheeses. We then discovered some lesser known varieties such as Cornish Yarg, Red Cheshire, Caerphilly and Cropwell Bishop Blue.
Mike joined us and explained that Britain now produces more varieties of cheese than Switzerland and France combined and although he is quite famous in the British community, most of his customers are in fact Swiss. He is often asked by Brits why he doesn’t sell cheap mild cheddar from Tesco, but he knows that the Swiss wouldn’t buy that and it would just confirm the old Swiss assumption that British cheese is bad.
He only imports artisan handmade cheeses. It is not all about cheese though! At the end of the British Cheese counter, is what must be the smallest pub in Switzerland, but that does not mean that there is little variety, he has some 40 British beers available, including 2 on tap, cider, port, sparkling wines, organic fruit lemonade, syrups as well as crackers, pickles, jams, scones and clotted cream!
All said it was an excellent soiree !! and well worth a visit at any time.
Thanks to Joanna Koch and Diana Divo for organising this tasteful New Year gathering.