An ode to Double Gloucester cheese – and a fond remembrance of the years we spent in Britain

I was so excited to find this cheese on display at the local specialized cheese shop! I used to eat Double Gloucester a lot when we lived in the UK, and I loved it. This hard cheese with a distinct mature flavor is ideal on fresh toast – I remember having it for breakfast with a glass of skimmed milk, and savoring its wholesome taste for minutes on end before the start of yet another busy day. Those where the days when we lived a tranquil life in the midst of the British countryside, surrounded by picturesque houses and an evergreen vegetation which made you want to get out and explore – to get out and live. Time used to pass slowly, and each day brought a unique meaning and a distinct appeal. The years I spent in Britain were a blessing: I learned, lived, and tasted so much! Food-wise, I got the chance to immerse myself into a culture which was very different from my own, and which was driven by an ongoing concern for seasonality and sustainability. I learned to appreciate tea, I developed an appetite for scones, rhubarb jam and custard, and I became a fan of Wimbledon and strawberries and cream. This experience has given me the chance to gain a nuanced intercultural perspective for which I am very grateful. 🙂

After I bought the Double Gloucester I started to think of ways to incorporate it in my cooking. The answer came naturally: I should begin by making a panino. I used some Polish ham I had in the fridge, and also an unexpected veggie ingredient: kumato. I had never tried kumato tomatoes before (I always thought they were rather pricey), but I found them on sale the other day and decided to give them a try. What followed was a very pleasant surprise: I didn’t know kumato were so sweet and had such a deep, pronounced flavor. In the end, they proved to be the best ally for my cheese and they bestowed a playful lightness and freshness upon my panino.

Ingredients

1 small chunk Double Gloucester cheese (the one I got weighed 0.4lb)

4 slices Polish ham

1/4 French bread

1 kumato tomato

Cut the bread in half and scoop out the middle. Cut the chunk of cheese into slices – my slices were thick because I wanted my panino to be very “cheesy” 🙂 Distribute the cheese evenly on top of the bread. Fold the Polish ham and put two slices on top of the cheese on each slice of bread. Wash the kumato tomato and cut it into medium slices, then place them on top of the ham, on the bread that is going to form the basis of the panino. Place the other slice of bread and its accompanying ingredients on top. Grill the panino for about 1 minute, or until the bread is golden-brown.

This is how the preparation process looks like:

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Cut the panino in half and serve it.

As you can see from the pic below, there was a lot of cheesiness going on in my panino, but I didn’t mind. In fact, it was all planned: I hadn’t had this British cheese for quite some time, and my taste buds were looking forward to an explosion of delicious cheesy flavor. Complemented by the playful kumato tomato, which gave it suppleness and composure, the Double Gloucester satisfied the cheeseaholic in me and transported me back in time and space to the bucolic British countryside. What an adventure! What a joy!


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