THE DISH: A perfect Tigoni farm visit

Wednesday June 05 2019

The fabled first cheese plate. My face buttery brie is on the top left corner. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA


Honestly, it's almost too cold to leave your house with this weather. With that said, let me explain how I ended up in Tigoni on a cold, cloudy afternoon.

If you like dairy, and are not lactose intolerant, then you know something about cheese and ice cream. If you really like cheese and ice cream as a staple in your household, then you have definitely tasted Brown's Cheese at some point in your life.

Or at least, Delia's ice cream (made of only 5 or so ingredients, and super good for your body, sans emulsifiers et al or any of that other stuff that you can't pronounce on the outside of your regular ice cream tin).


That good good gouda. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA


There aren't a lot of ice cream brands I will willingly shell money out for, because it feels like I'm just shovelling sugar into my system.


When I do buy ice cream, it's Delia's, for the very reason that I know I'm not just putting completely unhealthy stuff into my body.

Yes, it's sugar, but at least it's natural sugar, with no preservatives, and flavour that actually tastes like what it is says on the labelling.

Also, I've been to the factory where they make the ice cream and cheese. What I'm saying is, I trust Brown's to give me the good stuff.


The setup for the cheese plate tasting. We had to move inside when it started raining. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA

Going to the farm for a farm visit is one of those things that everyone says they want to do, but for some reason, never seem to get around to. And so by the time we decided to go, it was a pretty big bunch of people. You have to schedule when you want to go quite early in advance.

The visits get booked very fast. You can be a few as two people and as many as 12. The pin is quite accurate; I just wish there was a little more signage on the road.

The drive in itself is almost enough to make you full. Nothing quite compares to the rolling hills of abundance in Tigoni. You'll freeze your ass off, but at least you'll be looking at beautiful things while doing it.


When you get there, you will be greeted by the staff, who will give you the guidelines you need before going on a tour of the factory.

It's best to wear boots or waterproof shoes, not just because it is cold, but also because if not, you'll have to put on shoe covers as you walk through the factories.

And, you will need a hairnet as well, because no one wants to be eating cheese with someone's random hair in it.

The staff know so much about the cheese, and if you're into that How It's Made type of show, you'll love the tour.

It's just enough information to be interesting, but not enough for it to get boring – for example, they have cheese in there that's they've been ageing for years, and it isn't for sale.

Another fun fact: they just started making cheese out of mursik, the traditionally Kalenjin milk. It's black, and has a sharp taste, but if it's combined with something a little less sharp, it's very flavourful.


The innovations are exciting, but what was even more exciting as the cheese plate we were treated to when the tour was over – with 10 different types of cheeses, and a lot of wine to partner it with.

They luckily give you a chart to show you what is supposed to go with what, inclusive of the sauces and jams, in case you're one of those people like me who thinks all wines go with everything by the third glass.

My favourite sampling was the buttery Brie. It's positively decadent in its softness, and it doesn't overwhelm you with an overwhelmingly cheesy taste (think blue cheese, or goat cheddar). It's a gentle seduction, really.


What it looked like when we were quickly and efficiently moved inside. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA

There's more great news – if you go on the tour, you get a discount at the store on the property, but make sure you buy before 2 pm, because that's when the store closes.

After the cheese tasting, they serve you a three course meal, which consists of warm soup perfect for a rainy day, salads, quesadillas and of course, ice cream to top it all off (the flavours for the day were chocolate, salted caramel, tropical coconut, raspberry sorbet, and lavender and honeycomb. Yes. Delectable.)


The perfect fireplace I was telling you about. Three glasses of wine in, you don't even need the warmth. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA

Did I mention there's a fireplace to be cosy in front of? It's all you could ask of a farm visit, straight from an Enid Blyton winter's eve...


Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in and around Nairobi's foodie scene? There's a lot of places you could go, but here's where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.