Here’s the deal. I’m still slowly getting used to the idea of living in Liverpool. I’m taking my time, but then I’m not one for instant gratification. Even so, over time I found places I like, places that gradually make this town feel like my new home. Places like Bold St Coffee, where I’m a weekend regular, and their baby brother offshoot, Duke St Espresso Bar. There will always be need for places where knocking back a £1 shot of espresso can remedy even the vilest of states. In an age of overpriced lattes Duke St Espresso is a refreshingly minimalist affair – in a room the size of our entrance hall coffee, tea and toast and accomps are on offer. No indecisive dithering and hold ups at the till. The unforgiving efficiency only slows down, and the punters get a chance to sit back and look around, when the coffee’s begins its drip feed filtering process. All we can do then is wait for physics and chemistry to do its thing.
There is no doubt that the Bold Street Coffee folk are doing something right. To lend further support to that statement they have decided to hold monthly gourmet soirees with the aim of showcasing local produce and culinary talent. Flavour of Liverpool kicked off last month with Liverpool Cheese Company, and I was there. How could I not be!
Coffee and cheese is an odd couple. I even have a quasi-kosher approach to coffee and separate my coffee from dairy – or, if you prefer straight talking, I take my coffee black. My initial skepticism was dispelled when I saw how conducive the intimate atmosphere of the tiny Duke Street outlet was to achieving the goal of the evening – to get a group of people bound by a common love of cheese together for a chilled evening of cheese appreciation and geekery. Having failed to get a date for the evening I was slightly worried, however the love of cheese was just as well shared with complete strangers. It was fun to enjoy the coffee themed cocktails and observe everybody trying not to touch the cheese platters, as though waiting for a signal that it’s okay to get stuck in.
For a tenner per head Liverpool Cheese company provided a cornucopia of different cheeses, crackers and, most importantly, the expert knowledge of Vickie Anderson and Ian Tomlinson who run the Woolton-based company. Their passion shone through when Vickie introduced each cheese on offer and provided some interesting facts and cracker recommendations. In line with the premise of the event most cheeses on offer were of local origin, including Lancashire of course. The guests were taken on quite a cheese journey from the only French cheese of the night, sweet and creamy mold rinded Delice de Cremiers through fresh tasting goats cheese, an apple flavoured number (not my favourite but a good palate cleanser), Manchego complete with quince paste, Scrumpy Sussex flavoured with wild garlic, devilishly strong cheddar and a blue cheese from Shropshire. There were charcoal, lavender and orange crackers and olive bread to pair up with the cheese as well as membrillo (quince paste) and chilli jam and cider to wash it all down.
Stuffed with delicious cheeses we then moved on to the cheese quiz! This was more guesswork than anything else, but I did learn more about British cheeses, the process of cheese making, the different chemicals that make cheese what it is and useful information on how to best store cheese.
As I was leaving the cafe I couldn’t help thinking this was the best £10 I’ve ever spent. I will definitely keep an eye out for future events – next up is Tequila from El Bandito.
(I stole the photos from Duke St’s Facebook page. Sorry and thanks.)