Thursday, January 11

Zingerman's meets London

Those of you who know me are aware of my borderline obsession with Ann Arbor, Michigan's Zingerman's deli (and Roadhouse, and Bakery, and Creamery, etc etc etc).


Their monthly newsletter has a few items on my *other* foodie obsession, the cornucopia of goodness that is London's Borough Market.Here's a dispatch from the cheesy catacombs of Neal's Yard Dairy:
We start at Neal's Yard Dairy's Southwark warehouse, a half mile south of Tower Bridge. Called "The Arches," it's named for the Victorian brick arches that make up the walls and roof of the converted warehouse, all part of a bridge supporting the main rail route from the City of London and West End to the southeastern counties of Kent & Sussex. Trains click above you "so often you hardly notice,'" to quote Elwood Blues. This is the staging point for much of NYD's cheese--all specially selected from their thoroughbred stable of cheesemakers--and its stores supply London restaurants, English cheesemongers and American shops, like us.

We don white coats, hairnets and blue plastic booties, wash our hands and sign in, carrying notepads and pens. (Sanitation is paramount in cheese making and storage.) The first stop is a set of rooms that hold small cheeses. Drying rooms, washed rind rooms...each has a different temperature, humidity level, and set of active molds. Our main goal is further on, two stories of rough spruce shelves holding hundreds of wheels of British and Irish cheese.
There is also a blurb tapas haven Brindisa, and for grilled cheese maestro William "The Raclette Man" Oglethorpe -- turns out his legendary sandwiches (called "the Platonic ideal of grilled cheese" by Gourmet's Ruth Reichl) are made from the wheels of Montgomery's Cheddar that don't quite make the grade for the shop! Somehow that makes me like them even more:
nchees05William Oglethorpe is Neal's Yard Dairy's cheese caretaker. David Lockwood is an ex-Zingerman's staffer, now NYD's finance manager. Together they grind up cheeses that haven't aged quite properly at The Arches and take the results to the throngs at Borough Market Saturday morning. Today it was Montgomery's Cheddar sandwiched between slices of Poilane bread with shallots and garlic, cooked on portable sandwich presses. It's probably the best grilled cheese I've ever had.
New to me on their list was the (apparently famous) gastropub Anchor & Hope near Waterloo. I think I might have to pay a visit before I skip town...

Above: Oglethorpe works with the artery-clogging cheesy miracle that is raclette.

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