FINE FOOD FACE OFF: CHEESE

France and Britain have had a fraught history. They recorded a staggering seven wars with each other between 1076 and 1120, had two different wars named the Hundred Years War (although neither actually lasted 100 years), and didn’t really ease up on the fighting until after the Fashoda Incident, a colonial dispute when both countries were fighting over control of the Sudan. One thing that they have in common, though, is a proud history of cheesemaking. But who does it better?

THE BLUES: Beenleigh Blue (Britain) vs Bleu des Causses (France)

Beenleigh Blue, the thin-rinded, unpressed cheese from Ashprington in Devon County, is one of the youngest cheeses in this fine food face off. It was created in the 1980s by Robin and Sari Congdon before being taken over by Ben Harris in 2006. Bleu de Causses, as a variant of the more famous Roquefort, can be traced back to Ancient Roman times. So, as delightful as Beenleigh Blue may be, it lacks endorsements from Pliny the Elder and Julius Caesar.

WINNER: BLEU DES CAUSES

THE NAMES: Cornish Yarg (Britain) vs Le Saint-Félicien (France)

Le Saint-Félicien sounds pretty, but nothing encapsulates British cuisine quite like the name ‘Cornish Yarg’. It also scores points for being wrapped in nettle leaves, another quintessentially British touch.

WINNER: CORNISH YARG

THE ELDER STATESMEN: CHESHIRE VS CANTAL

King Henry II declared Cheshire cheese to be the best in the world in the 12th century, although considering there aren’t any other recorded cheese from the time, it’s hard to know what the competition was like. Cantal has a similar history and is regarded to be the oldest continually-produced French cheese, although was also responsible for a salmonella outbreak in 2001 thanks to it being made from unpasteurised milk.

WINNER: CHESHIRE

While Britain wins this fine food face-off, the real winner is the rest of the world, which gets to enjoy top-notch cheeses from two countries who have been battling it out for centuries.