ACHICA recently held a Cheese and Beer pairing event at the oldest cheesemonger in London; Paxton and Whitfield on Jermyn Street, in the heart of St James’s. Originally a cheese stall in Aldwych Market, Paxton and Whitfield dates back to 1742… so that’s a lot of cheese knowledge and experience… and rather a large amount of cheese eaten too. (Turns out I’m really very good at this bit.)
The shop itself is beautiful and looks like it’s leapt out of a Dickens novel. I felt as though all the men should should have been wearing top hats. Even Winston Churchill said, ‘a gentleman only buys his cheese at Paxton & Whitfield.’
Packed to the hilt with delicious, stinky cheese. The smell is amazing! I know it’s an acquired taste, but I love it. There are hundreds of British cheeses, cheese accompaniments and many other fine foods, which are perfect for gifts, hampers.. or just to nibble yourself, in front of the tellybox on a Tuesday evening. (Yes, I did.)
Cheese and wine is a far more familiar coupling and I had actually never heard of the pairing of cheese and beer… however as soon as I saw how excited (much jumping up and down and massive smiley faces) the two chaps were who were going to take us through the event, I knew we were in for a treat.
We experienced 6 different pairings. That is 6 cheeses and 6 beers. SIX BEERS. Actually there were seven beers, as we began the evening with a glass of Curious Brew Lager by Chapel Down.
For those of you who know me, you are right to worry. I could barely see straight by the time I left and were it not for the enormous amount of cheese in my tummy, I probably would have ended up snoring on a stranger at the end of the Piccadilly Line. Or singing wild 80s rock karaoke at Lucky Voice. It really could have gone either way.
Here are the pairings:
Beer: Shoreditch Blonde Ale – Redchurch Brewery, London
Cheese: Tunworth – Hampshire Cheese, Hampshire
Beer: Meantime Wheat – Meantime Brewery, London
Cheese: Rachel – White Lake, Somerset
Beer: Jaipur – Thornbridge Brewery, Derbyshire
Cheese: Berwick Edge – Doddington’s Dairy, Northumberland
Beer: Vintage Perry – Hogan’s Cider, Warwickshire
Cheese: Gorwydd Caerphilly – Trethowans Dairy, Wales
Beer: Paxton & Whitfield No. 93 Ale – Hepworth & Co. Brewers, West Sussex
Cheese: Westcombe Cheddar – Hard Cow’s Milk, Somerset
Beer: Imperial Stout – Sam Smith’s Brewery, North Yorkshire
Cheese: Stilton – Cropwell Bishop, Nottinghamshire
As a group, the overriding favourites were the Meantime Wheat paired with Rachel cheese and the Imperial Stout with stilton. The stout paired with the stilton was hands down my favourite – I love stilton, but this one was amazingly strong, creamy and punchy… and the stout tasted a bit like chocolate. So there was no contest really.
I had no idea what to expect from this experience, but I loved it. The passion and expertise which flows out of the cheese loving wizards that work at Paxton and Whitfield is endless, informative and full of historical facts. They are so incredibly passionate. I know I’ve already used that word. Forgive me. Only passion will do.
Cheese and beer. What can I say. It totally works.
Paxton and Whitfield
93 Jermyn Street
London, SW1Y 6JE