Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original hardcover edition for enjoyable reading. (Worth every penny spent!)
An excerpt from:
OTHER VARIETIES OF FANCY CHEESE ADAPTED FOR MANUFACTURE IN ENGLAND
THE term "fancy cheese" has usually been applied to varieties produced from cream or full milk, or a mixture of cream and milk, which are small in size by comparison with the large cheeses of all countries, and which are unpressed, or only partially pressed, in the course of manufacture. But the Americans have applied the term to some cheeses which are pressed and which really have no claim to it in any sense of the word. Sometimes a private maker, who has a considerable reputation as a prize-taker, and who is in consequence enabled to obtain high prices, is termed a maker of "fancy" cheese for the simple reason that his product is exceptionally excellent, and that it is obtainable only by those who are willing to pay the price for it.
It should be the duty of every maker to endeavour to produce fancy cheese in this sense, but there is no fear of the article being placed before the public in too large a quantity, as there are comparatively few makers who excel, the great majority producing cheese of second quality. Fancy cheese has not been produced in this country to any considerable extent. We have already named a few varieties; there are, however, others which are worthy of the consideration of the manufacturer. On the Continent, and more particularly in France and Italy, there are numbers of small cheeses of various types produced in different localities, each of which has its admirers who consume it in large quantities, and who pay the producer a relatively larger sum per pound than is obtained by the makers of the huge pressed cheeses of Great Britain, America, and the Australian Colonies. Let us refer to some of these varieties. We have already mentioned the famous Gruyere of Switzerland, the Parmesan of Italy, both of which are pressed cheeses of considerable size; we have also referred to the blue cheeses made in our own country, to the Gorgonzola of Italy, and the Roquefort of France, as well as to the two leading soft cheeses made by different sections of the French people, the Brie and the Camembert. These varieties may be supplemented by the Port du Salut, Pont l'Evêque, and Neufchâtel, the Gervais, Coulommiers, and Bondon, all of which are made in France.
PORT DU SALUT. — The Port du Salut has long been one of the most delicate and popular varieties made upon the Continent, but although there are numerous makers, those who produce the perfect article are extremely few in number. The system of manufacture has until recently been supposed to be the secret of the Trappist monks, a colony of whom are located at the Monastery of Bricquebec, in the Department of Manche. A few years ago I had the pleasure of accompanying to the north of France a party of our own countrymen who desired to see something of the dairy system pursued by the most successful among the Norman farmers. We were enabled to see a great deal in consequence of the kindness and liberality of several of the farmers and others with whom I was previously acquainted. But my application to the Monastery, although backed by an introduction from one of the highest officials in the French Agricultural Department, was met by the response that no outsider was ever allowed to see the process of manufacture pursued; that, in a word, the monks could not trust their own friends, who under the guise of curiosity had in previous years apparently taken advantage of the privilege extended to them to describe something of the system pursued, and thus to place other people in possession of a secret which is so jealously guarded. Secrets of this kind, however, are not long-lived, and it is impossible to prevent those who are acquainted with the principles of cheese-making from producing a variety of this character if they care to take the trouble to make a few thoughtful and well-arranged experiments for themselves. The Port du Salut cheese is not unlike a variety made in this country and known as the Caerphilly; it is circular in form, flat, about an inch in thickness, and partially pressed. The pâté, or flesh of the cheese, is extremely mellow or creamy, and yet homogeneous and firm in consistence, although there are a large number of holes throughout, which are characteristic of the variety, and which, in proportion to their size and number, are concurrent with its flavour. The milk is brought to a temperature of 86° F., and sufficient rennet is added to bring the curd in thirty minutes. The temperature is slightly varied with the season, as with almost every other variety of cheese, while the rennet used is in proportion to the quality of the milk....