Of the many obscure jobs that exist, that of cheese-duster must rank among the most unusual.
Yet a man has that task at Harvey & Brockless, the cheesemaker and artisan food supplier based on the outskirts of Worcester and approached along a charming country lane.
He regularly dusts the cheeses as they mature to keep in check the number of tiny harmless cheese mites that live on their rinds.
It was among the facts garnered during a fascinating visit to Harvey & Brockless with Abigail Connolly and Cydric Tachdjian, from Cheval Blanc wine bar and kitchen in Moseley, who are passionate about the quality of cheeses and other artisan foods they serve.
Cheesemaker George Bramham guided us through the procedures for making the goats cheese for which Harvey & Brockless is renowned.
It’s a time-consuming and milk-consuming process.
For every 10 litres of goats milk that the company buys from the Herefordshire-Welsh border, it produces only around 1kg of cheese.
And it takes time to mature the cheese so that it develops texture and complexity of flavour.
First the milk is heated in a large tray, then rennet is added so that the solids separate from the liquids, afterwards the solids are moulded into appropriate shapes and finally they are aged.
Squishing around in sterilised wellington boots through water draining from the cheese in the room used for the initial processes, we tasted the fresh curd.
It had a beautifully fresh, tangy taste.
The cheeses harden and grow more flavoursome as they mature – first in fridges set at different temperatures to aid their correct development and then on racks of untreated spruce in an air-conditioned room fragrant with fromage.
A walk across Harvey & Brockless’s courtyard took us into its vast warehouse and further culinary temptation.
Shelves were stacked high with cheeses from other artisan makers, gorgeous charcuterie, oils, sauces, spices and other specialist products destined for restaurants and delis.
Here was an Aladdin’s Cave for gourmets – especially those with a taste for cheese, because the range was astonishing.
Sitting down to enjoy a cheeseboard and bottle of wine at Cheval Blanc is always an enjoyable experience.
Add to that now the thrill of knowing just how much skill and passion go into its production and selection.
You can join the guys at Cheval Blanc on Wednesday April 5 between 5-10pm for The Great Cheese Tasting.
There’ll be ten cheeses for just £10.
Abi, Cyd and the team want customers’ feedback on what cheeses were their favourites and whether any great cheeses were left off the list.
Go to Cheval Blanc’s website or phone them to find out more.
145 Alcester Road, Moseley B13 8JP. 0121 449 6344
Harvey & Brockless
Broomhall Business Centre, Broomhall Lane, Broomhall, Worcester WR5 2N.
I work as a freelance consultant with Cheval Blanc.