The Lantern Room offers a dazzling dining experience. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the theatre of finely crafted flavours and beautiful plates. The grand finale here is the cheese trolley, served with expertise and flair. There is, however, a real art to creating a perfectly balanced cheese board, particularly considering the vast array of makers and varieties of cheese available.
Under the cloche in The Lantern Room, there is an ever-changing selection of carefully chosen artisan cheeses which take you on a journey of taste and texture. John Brewster, Head Chef, tells us a little about the cheese procurement process at Manor House.
How do you select a cheese?
We partner with expert cheesemongers to bring together a refined cheese board. Andy at Courtyard Dairy is our go-to, chosen for his expertise and commitment to discover the best cheeses at that moment. He only stocks about 30 cheeses at one time and goes to great lengths to ensure that they are at the top of their game. This means getting to know the makers, understanding the entire process and their integrity, such as welfare standards. Almost every cheese is from an artisan farmhouse, made with the own animals’ milk and the whole process kept exclusively on the farm.
In the ageing room, cheeses are arranged in the rack after rack – he chooses the best for us – in terms of ripening, depth and quality. The cheeses include staples along with new and seasonal flavours to sample.
What makes a well balanced cheese board?
On the cheese trolley, we have approximately 12 kinds of cheese – a combination of soft, hard, goat’s, blue and then four main staples. Of those, there will be pasteurised and unpasteurised. The goal is to achieve balance and diversity.
Is there a particular order you should eat a cheese board?
You should always start with the mildest and work up to the strongest. However, there will be soft cheeses that are really strong and hard cheeses that are quite mild – your server will be able to advise you. We would also recommend wine pairing. James is our wine expert, he is Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualified and on hand to share his knowledge with diners.
Do you have a favourite cheese or cheese maker?
I’m a big fan of Leeds Blue, made by Mario Olianas of Yorkshire Pecorino with milk from Harrogate. It’s made with a Gorgonzola recipe and is soft, creamy and rich with the saltiness from the blue clusters throughout. He’s won a world cheese award and, in my opinion, it is well deserved.