With National Cheese Day looming, turophiles have been stocking up, according to a fresh top 10 of searches for the UK's favourite lockdown cheeses.
Recipe box slingers Gousto say searches for "Cheese and Wine Night" have jumped by 203 per cent – though of course they would. While the phrase, for some, might conjure up memories of awkward 1970s minglings, cheap warm wine and cocktail sticks stuck in an unfortunate tin-foiled orange, for many now trapped at home, a block of delicious cheese and a tasty adult beverage is a reminder of those days when bars and restaurants were open.
Surprisingly – and to much consternation at The Reg – Red Leicester has taken the top spot, with 164 per cent more searches during lockdown, followed by goats' cheese, with a 158 per cent jump. Cheddar (in all its wonderful variations) increased by 97 per cent, Camembert by 80 per cent and Brie by 72 per cent.
Further enraging the Brexit brigade will be news that while mozzarella went up by 19 per cent and Parmesan by 17 per cent, old favourites like Stilton and Wensleydale dropped by 28 and 33 per cent respectively. Presumably as Brits tried to recreate the foreign holidays they were missing.
Just what would Liz Truss, secretary of State for International Trade, say about cheese importation? Here's a reminder of her previous mouth-frothing speech on the subject.
The Register spoke to a local purveyor of cheese and charcuterie, The Cheese Hut (located on the coast near Brighton and Hove), to get its take on the figures and were told that goats' cheese had indeed enjoyed a spike in popularity in the form of local producer Golden Cross. The soft Gorgonzola-like Blue Clouds of Balcombe Dairy had also attracted quite the following, while those seeking something more familiar have been well served by the Cheddar taste of the Sussex Charmer.
While Gousto's figures might represent the national trend, The Cheese Hut observed that at the start of lockdown, customers seemed to want something a little more artisan to treat themselves as the weeks wore on – a lifeline for local suppliers who had seen their restaurant trade evaporate overnight.
The Sussex outfit has seen orders from as far afield as Scotland and London as well as keeping locals fed on the cheese front (although did admit that customers seemed to be starting to trickle back to the supermarkets).
We are big fans of cheese here at El Reg and, rather than subjecting readers to a wince-inducing pun run, pondered what cheeses would suit the IT world.
Obviously, there is a block of rancid "Big Blue" for lovers of mouldy old mainframes. Moz-erella is the cheese to surf over a pizza while anything from Microsoft could be regarded as a Stilton; a little whiffy and best washed down with a stiff glass of port. We'll draw a veil over who an eye-wateringly ripe Camembert puts us in mind of, but we'd be crackers not to link Oracle with Big Red Leicester.
It's National Cheese Day tomorrow. How about celebrating by picking up a little something from your own local purveyor? ®