When visiting a foreign country, it makes sense to taste foods that can only be found there. This especially goes for cheese since the U.S has such strict regulations regarding raw milk aging , some truly amazing products never see our shores. Such is the case with Loch Arthur’s Criffel.
The Loch Arthur Community is an extraordinary working farm, creamery, and bakery catering to those individuals with special needs. There is even a woodworking shop and weaving workshop to round out the goods produced and sold.
In 1985 the creamery began producing cheese using the milk from their four cows on the farm. By 1991 they were winning accolades at the British Cheese Awards. Criffel has won four awards and it is easy to understand why.
This washed-rind cheese has a semi-soft paste that becomes slightly runny as it lingers at room temperature. The aroma is not as pungent as some washed-rinds but it is still pretty intense for those who are not accustom to slightly strong cheese. Upon first bite, the sweet yet slightly acidic flavors from the orangey-pink rind grab the tip of the tongue. The soft insides begin to mellow out the acidity and a nutty goodness melds with the sweet, giving the Criffel one of the most complex flavors I have ever tasted. Paired with raspberries or blackberries and a glass of Syrah bring out even more of the cheese’s intense taste.
Criffel was my first experience with Scottish cheeses and it definitely will not be my last.