Dairy pundits brand Alex James's new Asda line a supermarket sellout

While his first foray into making cheese attracted the attention of aficionados, Alex James's latest dairy inventions aren't getting the same supportive reception.

Since the Britpop band Blur decided to take a break in 2002, Alex James's transition from rock star bassist to farm-dwelling country bumpkin has been well documented. After leaving his touring days behind him, James went on to establish himself as, pardon the pun, something of a big cheese in the dairy world.

His Little Wallop (a goat's milk cheese wrapped in vine leaves) and creamy Blue Monday won accolades and critical acclaim. James wrote extensively on the subject for a number of UK broadsheets and the doyens of dairy credited him with helping to make artisan produce cool.

But as of last week - when a new line of his products went on sale at the British supermarket Asda - James is no longer the cheese experts' churner of choice. In fact, they've all but disowned him. The reason for this sudden change in opinion? Well, let's just say that the Alex James Presents range is about as far from the organic, handmade, farmer's-market-friendly variety as you can imagine.

For the time-starved, there are "Cheese Blankets" (bread-shaped slices of cheese, designed to cover a piece of toast perfectly) in flavours such as tomato ketchup or salad cream. His Cheddar Wedges, meanwhile, embrace all things fusion: cheddar and tikka masala or sweet chilli, for example. And his Cheddar Spudsworth - packets of pre-formed cheese cubes intended to be microwaved to a molten mass and poured over a hot jacket potato - take convenience food to a whole new level. Supermarket sell-out or food hero for the masses? You decide. But maybe steer clear of anything resembling cheese infused with curry.

Published: August 29, 2011 04:00 AM

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