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Journal

Cheese & Chutney

Last time Rosebud Preserves were kind enough to get my take on pairing their delicious condiments with cheese they threw down the gauntlet with jam. Little did they realise that Jam and Cheese held a special place in my heart, I hope you’ve had a chance to try some of the pairings!

Now we’re on more familiar ground, Chutney.

Chutney Landscape

Obviously not all chutneys are created equal and the skill and attention that Rosebud lavish on all their products is the foundation of all these pairings.


Chutney, the word loosely derived from an Urdu word that translated means “to eat with appetite”, forms a key part of British Cheeseboards, charcuterie selections and any cold collation. Our love of chutney of course stems from our historical relationship with the Indian Subcontinent, in fact chutney has been eaten across Europe for at least 500 years. The real chutney boom came in the early 1800s when Major Grey’s and Bengal Club chutney brought that sweet, fruity sourness that works so well with cheese and cold meats to the general market.

Obviously not all chutneys are created equal and the skill and attention that Rosebud lavish on all their products is the foundation of all these pairings.

Piccalilliw Cheese Landscape

The Piccalilli is packed to the brim with crunchy vegetables, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, red and green peppers and courgette, the spice from the mustard seed shines through and the flavour is cut through with cider vinegar.

Westcombe Cheddar with Ampleforth Chutney or Piccalilli

Cheddar is the cornerstone of The British Cheese industry, over 70% of all cheese produced in the UK is cheddar. This however is a special cheddar, a proper Farmhouse, clothbound, West-Country Cheddar. It is deeply flavoursome with pasture led acidity, earthy notes, a gentle mustiness from the cheese room and a robust, buttery dairy finish. It is everything a cheddar aspires to be.

The pairings I have selected are quite different. Rosebud Ampleforth Chutney is richly fruity, with a gentle sourness from the cider apple vinegar and malt from the beer. Their Piccalilli is packed to the brim with crunchy vegetables, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, red and green peppers and courgette, the spice from the mustard seed shines through and the flavour is cut through with cider vinegar.

So far so different? Well yes, they do stand apart but they work in different ways. The fruit of the chutney balances with the salty, savoury notes in the cheese, the vegetables of the piccalilli sing along to the pasture notes in the cheddar. Different but delicious.

The major bond these two share however is nostalgia. Both would sit happily on a Ploughman’s Lunch in a pub garden somewhere surrounded by Yorkshire Oak trees or London Plane trees alike. A good piece of Westcombe Cheddar, bread, some cooked ham and an onion ringed salad and you’re away – the compulsory pairing with all though is a traditional brown ale, malty and gently hopped.

Cucumber Picklew Cheese Landscape

Again two very different condiments from Rosebud bringing out quite different elements of the cheese.

Rollright with Sweet Cucumber Pickle or Spiced Plum Chutney

There’s a dish from the Alps called Tartiflette. It’s a disgrace. It’s a layered cholesterol disaster zone made from potatoes, lardons, onions and an oozing, melted Reblochon cheese on top. It’s a dish only to be eaten if you’ve spent the day digging a village out from under a snow drift, it’s not to be trifled with and it is DELICIOUS.

Rollright was born as a British take on the Reblochon form he aforementioned Tartiflette. David Jowett (who just turned 30 by the way – begging the question as to what I’ve been doing with my life!) creates delicious cheeses on Manor Farm in Gloucestershire, there are a few now but his flagship cheese is Rollright. Washed rind, aromas of roasted peanuts and bacon, wrapped in spruce and oozingly milky with an earthy finish, It’s effectively Tartiflette in a cheese.

The pairings I’ve selected both needed sweetness to balance with the brine washed rind, and some heft and body of flavour to deal with what can be quite a punchy cheese. Rosebud Sweet Cucumber Pickle really plays well with the bacon note in the cheese, designed to work well with cured meat this part of the pairing is really wonderful, rich meaty flavour bouncing off the piquant, savoury notes in the pickle. I hesitate to say this but there is something of the barbecue in this combination, albeit one of those very fancy green egg ones!

Rosebud Spiced Plum Chutney is a much fruitier, spicier number and yet it works just as well with the Rollright. There’s something of Christmas about this combination, rich molasses, cloves, ginger, and allspice, it reminds me of a glazed ham. I make a great glazed ham!

Again two very different condiments from Rosebud bringing out quite different elements of the cheese. You definitely have something for all seasons as well, the cucumber pickle falling clearly into the Summer evening category and the spiced plum nailing that dark winter’s night cheeseboard with aplomb (or should that be “a plumb”).

Red Onionw Cheese Landscape

The Red onion marmalade has the addition of Vintage Port which brings a rounded, fruity finish that lends itself to blue cheese and the savoury allium note brings gorgeous balance to the musty mould.

Sparkenhoe Blue with Red Onion & Port Marmalade or Fig Chutney

Sparkenhoe Blue is in many ways a Stilton. It’s made in the same way, the curds are carefully hand ladled and it is made in one of the PDO approve counties Leicestershire. However, Sparkenhoe Blue is not a Stilton because it is made with raw milk. Because of the raw milk I’d argue that Sparkenhoe Blue has more in common with truly traditional Stiltons than Stilton. I’ve wondered onto contentious ground here so I shall immediately stop in case I get in trouble with the Stilton lobby, instead let’s talk about two delicious chutneys.

Red Onion & Port Marmalade and Fig chutney are both sticky, rich and complex. Rosebud Red Onion Marmalade has the addition of Vintage Port which brings a rounded, fruity finish that lends itself to blue cheese and the savoury allium note brings gorgeous balance to the musty mould. The Fig is a fruit that is aromatic and decadent, a great contrast with a cheese that is very much of the earth and which has a fresh yogurt tang.

Both pairings are full of sweetness and rich fruitiness, both contrast fantastically well with the cheese. But the onion brings a grounded note and the fig a kind of elevated perfume so although at first glance they seem quite similar in the way they pair in fact they bring a bit of heaven and earth to the mix.

A Classic Combination

Chutney has historic precedent as a delicious condiment and as a pairing for cheese many would argue there are few greater combinations. I encourage you to look deeper into the incredibly broad churches of “cheese” and “chutney”. Of course you can just grab a bit of both and pop it onto a board but for a truly heavenly experience dig a little deeper and try some of my suggestions above – you won’t regret it!

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