A beautiful raw cow's milk cheese from Gorwydd Caerphilly
Words: Mark Riddaway
In the field of psychology, there’s a concept called the ‘paradox of choice’. The suggestion is that choice, rather than being an unqualified positive, can often be a source of hellish first world anxiety.
If you’ve ever been to Borough Market with just a vague idea of what you want and a limited time in which to buy it, you’ll know all about this particular form of angst. Almost every stall is packed with options, each of which is wonderful in its own little way. And while you’ll doubtless enjoy whatever you buy, you’ll also find yourself tortured for hours afterwards by the many things you didn’t. It can be agonising.
There are people who went through the doors of Neal’s Yard Dairy while Gordon Brown was still prime minister and have yet to emerge, still trying just one more English blue cheese before making their final decision. It’s almost enough to make you pine for the grim utilitarianism of a Soviet supermarket.
Kaleidoscope of culinary possibilities
Amid this bewildering kaleidoscope of culinary possibilities, the Gorwydd Caerphilly stall offers a haven of quiet, comforting homogeneity. No bells, no whistles, no little pots of chutney. Just one cheese. And to make things even simpler, that cheese happens to have the same name as the stall. At Gorwydd Caerphilly they sell Gorwydd Caerphilly. Full stop. The only choice you have to make is the quantity you buy.
Made by the Trethowan family, it is a beautiful raw cow’s milk cheese, bright and lemony in the middle, with an earthy, vegetal flavour around its majestic rind. The truth is that the stall doesn’t need to sell anything else, because the one thing it does sell is pretty much perfect. Paradox averted.