I always have been a cheese fanatic, it's one of those little luxuries I really enjoy. On and off over the years I've even made my own cheeses, it's a lengthy process that requires a lot of patience, some skill and high quality ingredients but it's rewarding.
I haven't had a really good cheese for a couple of years now, there was a farm about 2 hours away from Cape town where I would regularly purchase great cheeses but the old guy who made them sadly passed away and the cheesemaking side of their business fell by the wayside because his son went to university shortly after his death.
Late last year I received a phonecall from his son saying that he was back and had started producing cheeses again. I immediately ordered a wheel of mature cheddar which he reserved for me and promised to call again when it was ready. Meanwhile, in my excitement, I got impatient and also ordered some farm produced Wensleydale from a friend who was going to the UK for a month.
The Wensleydale arrived and it was everything I expected. Needless to say a few days after its arrival I received the long awaited phonecall to say the Cheddar was fully matured and ready for collection. I made the 4 hour round-trip drive to collect. The core sample I tasted on the farm was spot on and the several other samples I tasted on the way home confirmed this. Life was as good as it gets.
I stashed both cheeses in our pantry and went about life with a certain amount of smugness. I made plans to invite friends who would appreciate them to dinner and produce said cheeses after the meal. I even had a couple of bottles of appropriate wine selected.
A week later my wife made a confession casually over the dinner table. It turns out that my two kids had eaten the entire Cheddar and a good part of the Wensleydale over a weekend when they had several friends over to stay. Apparently it wasn't their fault really because they didn't know they weren't supposed to eat it but one late night snack and a lunch of cheese on toast the following day for them was the demise of nearly 3 kilos of cheese. I'm left with enough Wensleydale to sprinkle across half a dozen crackers which I'm eating as I type. It somehow hasa less rewarding taste and the feeling of joyous anticipation has been replaced with one of having been mugged. I'm going back in the kitchen when I've finished my crackers to eat the half jar of Melrose and last of the peanut butter that's sitting in the fridge.....purely out of spite.