“It doesn’t taste anything like American cheese!” exclaimed Madam.
We were heading to Wells in Somerset for a couple of days and stopped off at Cheddar on the way and, after a brief look at the end of the gorge, had gone in to the only cheese shop to actually make Cheddar cheese in Cheddar.
They had a wide range of samples and we worked our way around them from mild to mature. The first cheese sample was the mild, matured for only a few months. Madam savoured it slowly and said “Mmmm… nice.”
The second was more mature with a stronger taste. Madam’s breath quickened and said “This is NOTHING like American cheese.”
When the cave aged Cheddar touched her tongue her breath became heavy and she let out a long soft moan. Several women standing behind looked on with interest. I wasn’t sure if I needed to guide her from the shop for fear of embarrassment or just buy her a wedge of extra-mature and leave her alone in a room.
After much sampling, we settled on a cave aged mature Cheddar and an oak smoked Cheddar. I’m not big on hard cheeses, preferring a soft French cheese, but even I could see how much better this was that the average supermarket offering. I should hope so for the prices they were charging.
“I’ve eaten Cheddar cheese in Cheddar!” said Madam excitedly as we headed back towards the car.
“I’ve eaten American cheese in America” I thought. It was bright orange and tasted of nothing much at all. It was weirdly soft and sticky all at the same time.
But I didn’t want to spoil the moment, so I kept the thought to myself.
“I’ve never seen a television that small” I said as I opened the door.
We had booked a self-catering “cottage” for three nights which was on a caravan park. It was more chalet than cottage.
I opened a cupboard and the knob came off in my hand. The ceiling was Artex. Madam turned on a table lamp. “Let their be light.” she said.
There was darkness.
I pulled on a knob to open the wardrobe. But you know what happened. I put the two spare knobs on a shelf.
It had a tiny lounge with a two person sofa, a TV just a little larger than my iPad, a two person dining room, a slide in sideways kitchen, a tiny bathroom and a bedroom just big enough for a bed and a wardrobe.
“It’s better than a hotel room” said Madam.
Which was true, once you got used to moving sideways. It was clean and comfortable with everything we needed for a few nights.
We drove into Wells for dinner but we ended up passing the cathedral on the way from the car park. We popped in and had a quick look round. The guided tours had finished for the day, so we planned on coming back later this week. We had a really enjoyable tour in Salisbury cathedral and I hoped this would be as good. It was almost deserted, for a cathedral, so I wandered round happily taking a few photographs unobstructed by other visitors. I’m sure you have seen them on Instagram by now.
It was getting late and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast so we walked down the High Street looking for somewhere to eat. Wells is billed as the UK’s smallest city. It is certainly compact, you could walk across the centre in 20 minutes and still have time to pop into the bank, chat to a friend and change your library books.
Unfortunately, its compact size hasn’t kept the chain stores at bay. All down the High Street was a succession of the likes of W H Smith, New Look, Costa, Nero’s, Vision Express, Carphone Warehouse, Waterstones and Greggs. I’ve nothing against any of these – I can often be found frequenting them myself but it’s sad when you see family owned businesses, who have probably served the town for years and live locally, closing down to be replaced with yet another identikit store. Maybe if we supported the independents more they might survive longer.
We went into Costa for a coffee.
We struggled to find a restaurant serving food at 5pm. They were either lunch cafes that closed at 4pm or pubs serving food from 6pm onwards. Eventually we wandered down a side street and found an family run Italian restaurant by the name of Da Luciano which was both happy to rustle up a couple of pizzas and excellent. Worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. Madam wanted some weird combination not on the menu involving artichokes, swede, onion, basil, dandelion, elderberry, porridge, grapes and marmalade. The staff were happy to oblige and Madam said it was the best pizza she had had for years.
I may have got a couple of the ingredients wrong. I was hungry and forgot to make notes.
Pictures from the trip can be found here