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A perfect pairing: Loaf-baked whole cheese with girolles

It’s the ultimate sharing treat: rich, melted cheese and garlicky mushrooms oozing out of warm, crusty bread. Tear and share with a glass of Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir or Gamay.

One of my very favourite times to be at Borough Market, on the south side of London Bridge, is first thing on a Saturday morning. That’s when the locals come to do their food shopping, armed with empty shopping bags that will be full to bursting when they finally leave the Market gates. It’s a scene replicated at food markets across the country and around the world: shoppers making the choice to swap the relentless beeps of a supermarket checkout for a trader’s big smile and perhaps a bit of banter, too.

At a (Borough) Market stall you can pick up and squeeze or smell the fruits and vegetables; ask the fishmonger what is best that day; seek the butcher’s advice on the different cuts of meat you can see right there in front of you… They’re the conversations where discoveries are made about seasonality, provenance, production and heritage. All things that matter for sustainability, for preserving food traditions, and simply for their sheer deliciousness.

Those values lie at the heart of Borough Market and also the pages of Borough Market: The Knowledge. Its chapters are like every conversation you might have at a market stall: packed with trader knowledge, skills and tips. There’s everything from filleting a fish, to varieties of honey, fixing Martinis and so much more; plus 80-odd recipes that spring out of the knowledge and the glorious seasonal produce with which the market abounds. Because fundamentally our book – like our Market, and like all good markets – is about finding the joy in food.


Loaf-baked whole cheese with girolles recipe

Camembert is just one of many soft cheeses that would work well for this – I’d be just as happy with a Vacherin Mont d’Or or Epoisses. Whatever cheese you choose nestles within a whole loaf and is then baked for tearing and sharing, its flavours layered up with garlic, mushrooms, honey and wine.

Serves 3-4 as a main or 6 as part of a feast

Preparation time 20 minutes

Cooking time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 round baking cheese such as Camembert (about 250g-300g)
  • 1 round sourdough or cob loaf
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 30g butter
  • 25g small girolle mushrooms
  • 1⁄2 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 50ml white wine or vermouth

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
2. Cut the top rind off the cheese. Then cut the top off the loaf and pull out enough of the crumb inside that the cheese can sit comfortably in the loaf.
3. Peel the garlic and cut into slivers. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat. Cook the mushrooms until just softening, then add the garlic slivers and stir in the herbes de Provence. Take off the heat and stir in the honey and the wine. Mix well and season lightly.
4. Sit the loaf on a large piece of foil on a baking tray. Spoon the mushroom mix over the top of the cheese, then spoon the rest of the juices over, allowing some to go over the outside of the bread too. Push at the garlic pieces so they sink into the cheese a little. Wrap loosely in the foil and bake for 20 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 190°C, open the parcel up just enough to reveal the cheese, and return to the oven for another five minutes to finish off.
5. Cut or tear the loaf into wedges and serve while the cheese is still meltingly hot.


Angela Clutton is a cook, presenter and awarded food writer. Her first book The Vinegar Cupboard (Bloomsbury Absolute, 2019) won several awards, including ‘Debut Cookery Book’ at the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards 2020. Angela has written for a range of national publications, and broadcasting includes the Channel 5 Inside… series. She presents Borough Market’s Borough Talks podcast series, and is host of the Borough Market Cookbook Club (boroughmarket.org.uk).

Borough Market: The Knowledge by Angela Clutton was published in October 2022 and is available through Amazon UK


The wines to drink with loaf-baked whole cheese with girolles

There will definitely be two views on what to drink with this dish – the white wine with cheese camp, and those who always prefer a red. The fact that the dish has white wine in it might incline you toward the former, and given that the dish contains honey it will have an added touch of sweetness, so I’m tempted by the idea of a Vouvray or Montlouis from the Loire, or an old-vine South African Chenin Blanc. A Chablis with a bit of bottle age would work pretty well, too.

The mushrooms would go with either white or red, but might incline you towards a Pinot Noir; nothing too rarefied, I’d suggest – this is a hearty dish. Maybe something from the Auvergne rather than Burgundy, although I can imagine it being pretty delicious with an Oregon Pinot Noir. The other option would be a cru Beaujolais, maybe from the warmer 2020 vintage than the cooler, lighter, 2021 – and a Côte de Brouilly or Juliénas rather than a Fleurie. Think the rustic rather than the floral side of Beaujolais.

By Fiona Beckett

Wines selected by our Decanter experts


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