Charlie Hodson and his latest Cheesemonger’s Diary
‘As the pavements slowly come back to life, in the blink of an eye, a forgotten energy is returning to the high street’
My quote was used in a specialty food magazine after I was asked how it felt in Aylsham as most of the high street shops slowly started to re-open. I, like so many others, hope this simmering energy will also be felt when the hospitality industry finally fully reopens on May 17.
Here at Hodson and Co, we are certainly looking forward, as, on May 20, we launch our weekly Table for Two, an intimate five-course dinner for two guests cooked and served by me right here in the deli each Thursday.
The idea comes from my time when we had chefs’ tables in kitchens, where guests would pay to sit in the engine room of their favourite eatery, amid the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. For me, it is about taking diners on a wonderful cheese journey as each course will indeed involve cheese. This gets really interesting when I stage my Indian night!
I use local, national and Continental cheeses and am always on look out for new finds. The newly launched Wighton cheese from Catherine Temple of Mrs Temple’s cheese in North Norfolk is on my list, along with Blue Monday from pop star turned cheese maker Alex James. This stonkingly good blue cheese, with a gorgonzola style taste and texture, is made at his Oxfordshire farm where he also produces Good Queen Maude, Little Wallop and Farleigh Wallop which we’re really looking forward to trying and using before long.
My Table for Two suppers will also include some of my favourite local produce such as smoked fish from Staithe Smokehouse at Brancaster Staithe in North Norfolk, locally reared pork and beef from Coxfords butchers in Aylsham, the best seasonal produce from Mr Fruity in Norwich, and guest suppliers like Hammonds Charcuterie from Berwick upon Tweed on the English/Scottish borders, and handmade crockery by Bespoke 77 in Bedfordshire adding to the list.
With amazing, handpicked wines from Norfolk’s Tanja of TFW fine wines and a few little surprises from Wild Knight Distillery in west Norfolk, we hope that these exclusive suppers will be one of those not to be missed moments, just for two, every Thursday.
We are also incredibly proud to be picking and supplying cheese to The Chequers Inn in Thornham and Tuddenham Mill, near Newmarket in Suffolk and, with our foodie partnership with the Coastal Exploration Company in Wells, we hope to continue to grow. Certainly the year is looking better, after a less than ideal start to 2021.