Create the perfect Christmas cheeseboard with Blacks Corner
We sat down with Jonathan Dryden from Blacks Corner, East Boldon to find out more about British farmhouse cheese and charcuterie as well as how to put together the perfect cheeseboard...
By Laura Kingston
About Blacks Corner
In 2015, Jonathan Dryden and Christopher Lowden from East Boldon put on a cheese and wine night for a friend’s birthday and were gifted an idea that there is much excitement about working with food and pairing flavours together around conversations with friends. A month later they made their way to Borough Market in London after nothing more than a phone call asking if they could volunteer on a stall to work with British farm produce.
Two years later almost to the date, that market stall experience on Borough Market was realised into the dream of an award-winning cheese, wine & charcuterie called Blacks Corner that opened its doors to the public on 23 September 2017.
Blacks Corner is now recognised as the single largest retailer in the UK of British Charcuterie, and one of the largest cheese outlets in the region. It is one of only a handful of companies in the country responsible to a growing band of farms producing farmhouse cheeses and amazing cured meats.
In November 2019, Blacks Corner expanded with a Delicatessen and Bakehouse offering fresh bread, farmhouse butters and free-range Cacklebean eggs alongside produce from 27 British cheese producers and 15 British charcuterie producers.
Where do you find your cheeses?
We select and sell farmhouse cheeses from British farms and work closely with a cheese maturer in London to ensure we sell cheese when it reaches its best. We work with incredible artisan producers who cover the length and breadth of England, Wales and Scotland with an approach to farming that not only good for the animals but also good for our plates. Britain’s farms produce amazing produce and finding cheese & charcuterie that reflects this is a huge driver for us.
How do you decide on which cheese to stock?
Flavour drives how we select cheese alongside provenance from the farm and sustainability, as well as the focus of that dairy farm or cheesemaker to make good cheese, all play an important role.
We find that the best cheeses are those that have a simplified approach, so getting the raw product, milk, and making it expressive. This is the most fundamental thing as this is what drives the taste. So if the raw product is protecting something traditional, or perusing traditional methods this is really important in milk expressiveness, there are no fruits, chillis, smokiness added, just the purest transformation of milk.
So what is on the perfect Christmas cheeseboard?
Well, this has be traditionally starting with our all-time favourite, a blue, Colston Bassett Stilton followed by something soft and gooey like a Tunworth camembert style. Some box-ticking delights like a Dorstone goats cheese to bring some colour, and a Tymsboro goats cheese to give contrast to the look of the cheeseboard. I think for Christmas it would be a perfect opportunity to experiment with a washed rind such as a soft cows milk Rollright or a sheep’s milk Risely which gives amazing smoky bacon bold savoury flavours. Four kinds of cheese is perfect!!
HLN's favourite hampers
We have to say that after trying the British farmhouse cheeses, the superior difference in taste and quality compared to a supermarket-bought cheese is really very obvious. We are definitely going to be stocking up with hampers from the deli to indulge over Christmas, and actually now we’ve tasted it in comparison to store-bought cheese, it’s going to be hard to settle for anything else.
Blacks Corner bar and eatery opening times:
Tuesday: 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Thursday: 9am – 10pm