I’m not usually a big fan of flavoured cheeses – I like to taste the flavours trapped in each mouthful of cheese that come from the gradual breakdown of the grazing which is converted to milk. Then in the hands of the cheesemaker, and the help of time, salt and Mother Nature, this is converted into a myriad of different flavours. The older the cheese, the more varied the grazing and the better the cheesemaker the more complex the character of the final cheese. But my friend Akash Charles has just started work at Karikaas and sent me some cheese to try.
Karikaas, based in Loburn, North Canterbury was started in 1984 by a talented Dutch cheesemaking couple who sold it to the Lamers and Hawkins families in 2004 who have continued making the traditional cheeses of Holland as well as creating some with a twist like Pumahana [translates as warm in Maori].
It's a Gouda aged for 12 months with peppercorns and a dash of chilli. The result is a very morish, dense, smooth, creamy hard cheese with sweet-savoury notes and a slight crunch as the peppercorns bursts in the mouth releasing a flavour like cracked pepper cheese sauce with warm spicy finish. Perfect as is – doesn’t even need a cracker but amazing grated on a baked potato or melted in a cheese and ham toastie and you can buy it online!