Holy Goat Pandora - Holy liquid cheese, Batman! From the outside it looks like a lot of the other surface ripened, white mould goats cheeses (like this one) but on the inside it's something else all together. In fact, it's little more than a gooey, liquid cheese poured into a white mould tube cunningly disguised as something more solid. When I cut the top off ours, as if for a boiled egg, the texture inside was like a thin pouring cream with a small floating centre that hadn't quite ripened. Cutting the side resulted in a torrent of cheese that required bread to sop it up. Beyond the cream the flavour was slightly sweet with a little mushroom flavour and without any goat tang. A cheese that demands an audience.
Fromage de Meaux - A cows' milk white moulder from Ile-de-France and like all great French cheeses, this Brie has a long and amusing history. Charlemagne praised Brie in the ninth century and it was dubbed "the King of Cheeses" by the diplomat Tallyrand (a man famously described by Napoleaon as "shit in a silk stocking") in the nineteenth. This was a lovely Brie, but not as intense or salty as some of the other French white-moulders we've had (such as the Brie de Nangis). A mild, rich flavour that's easy on the palate and doesn't require a whole lot of thinking. This is an introductory Brie, or perhaps a gateway Brie that leads the first-time taster to a life of crime to fund an obsession with the sterner stuff...
Petit Munster - Not, as one might have been led to expect, a small monster, but instead a modest washed rind cheese from the Alsace. Although Munster is considered one of France's more smellier cheeses, this was the pocket-size model that don't have quite the same terrifying reputation as its large-wheel bigger brother. This is not an overwhelming washed-rind biological weapon, but is a beautiful cheese with a luscious, smooth texture and a balance of washed-rind stink and sweet cream. It doesn't have the yeast/Vegemite smell that some of its friends-and-relations do, but would be the perfect follow-on from the Brie on the path towards cheese dependancy.
Roy des Vallees - On the surface this appears to be a modest semi-hard cheese ball, about as big as a cantaloupe, made from sheep and goats milk in the Basque-Pyrenees. But its modest looks hide the fact that this cheese is a supervillain in a cardigan; one which DEMANDS TO BE DESCRIBED IN ALL-CAPS!! THIS IS A BLOODY MARVELOUS, RICH, NUTTY, CARAMEL FLAVOUR THAT LASTS ABOUT SIX MONTHS IN YOUR MOUTH! BOW BEFORE THE CHEESE, YOU COWERING, INSIGNIFICANT MORTALS FOR YOUR TIME HAS EXPIRED! THE TIME OF THE BIG CHEESE HAS ARRIVED AND YOU PUNY WALKING HUMAN SAUSAGES WILL BE RENDERED DOWN FOR TALLOW TO SERVE YOUR LACTIC OVERLORDS! BOW!
Cantal - Cantal is semi-hard cow's milk cheese from Auvergne. It's texture was somewhere between a not-too-old Cheddar and a Gruyere - tight and smooth but with a dense flavour that has just a little sourness to balance the nuttiness. This suffered a little by following the Roy de Vallees, but stood proud when taken on its own the next day. At the time we all nodded and spoke highly of the Cantal, but secretly we are all thinking about the Roy...
Carles Roquefort - The Lord knows I'm not a religious man, but every time when we finish Cheese Club with a soft, buttery blue cheese I can't help think that is How God Meant It To Be. All good things should end with blue cheese, and this would be a fine Roquefort to finish many things; a meal for example, or perhaps a long evening of wine, or even a life. Without getting onto the morbid subject of deathbed cheeses, this would have to be on the shortlist (although, to be fair, my shortlist has about 20 cheeses on it). Creamy yet tart with both a sheep's milk tang and a powerful blue punch, this is a noble and powerful cheese; the sort that looks imperiously down on you from the back of a horse. You don't argue with a cheese like this; you just don't.
Oh, and the mystery guest with the stripe? It's our old friend, Fin Briard aux Truffe