Category Archives: * English cheese

West Country Cheddar

Montgomery Cheddar

A proper English Cheddar from the county of Somerset in England.

History of Montgomery Cheddar

The EU has protected the word ‘Cheddar’ and only West Country Cheddars from Somerset, Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall may be officially called Cheddar. Now known as ‘West country Cheddars’
Montgomerys is such an outstanding West country cheddar as they all are. The cheese is made with the milk from their own herd of 200 Friesian cows.
Made with unpasteurised cows milk and traditional animal rennet they have been doing so since 1911. Jamie Montgomery’s grandfather, Sir Archibald Langman, bought the farm and continued making traditional cheese making while so many others gave up during and after WWII.

Terroir

Manor farm is located in the North Cadbury district in Somerset. Also locally known as Camelot where King Arthur defended the area against the invading Saxons.

James Montgomery whos Grandfather bought the land in 1911
James Montgomery whos Grandfather bought the land in 1911

Maturing

All Montgomery Cheddars are 30kg cloth bound wheels and aged on wooden shelves for a minimum of 12 months and some for 18 months.
Montgomerys Cheddar whole

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Tasting notes

The cheese has a rich nuttiness with slight sweet, nutty overtones. As the cheese ages the drier the pate becomes starting to crumble and adding a grainy texture as the milk proteins start to breakdown and the crystalisation comes through

It really is the epitome of a good quality aged West Country Cheddar.

Extra information gained here on their website, check them out…

http://www.montgomerycheese.co.uk/index.htm

West Country Cheddar

Barbers Farmhouse

History of Cheddar cheese

Cheddars history is indisputably linked to the fertile counties of Devon & Somerset in SW England.
The EU has protected the word ‘Cheddar’ and only West Country Cheddars from Somerset, Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall may be officially called Cheddar. Now known as ‘West country Cheddars’
Where the word Cheddar has come from however, is a complete mystery as no Cheddar has ever been made in Cheddar!
The cheeses from the surrounding area of Mendip hills, south of Bristol in Somerset had become known as the ‘cheeses from cheddar’ from visiting tourists during the 17th Century. Maybe this is where the word ‘Cheddar cheese’ came from?

barbers logo

History of Barbers Cheddar

One of the oldest West Country Farmhouse Cheddars from Ditcheat in Somerset dating back to 1833.
In the early days milk from the farm was sold locally and the cheese made was to feed the family & workers.
Maryland Farm is situated less than 15 miles from the village of Cheddar itself.
Today the Barber farms are 2500 acres of prime dairy land and home to 2,000 dairy cows.

Maturing

West Country Farmhouse Cheddar

Most dairy farms throughout the world make their own ‘Cheddar’ however the PDO ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ regulations help protect and preserve ‘West Country Farmhouse Cheddar’.
The PDO ensures you that Barbers Cheddar is

* Made only from local milk produced within he four counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall

* Made on the farm using traditional methods, that the curds are still turned by hand

* Continue to be matured on the farm for a minimum of nine months

* Finally assessed by a professional grader to ensure it achieves the highest quality level.

All Cheddar approved by the PDO seal is your guarantee that you are buying a cheddar that is truly characteristic of the region.

Sustainable farming techniques

The Barbers family are not ones to stand still even after nearing 200 years in production.
The whey by-product is ultra-filtrated and split into 4 parts: cream for butter making, water for washing the dairy, lactose as livestock feed and protein dried into protein powder for dietary supplements. Nothing is wasted.
They are even working on new technology to see if they can generate their own electricity from an anaerobic digester, giving a whole new meaning to the power of cheese!

Tasting notes

The Barbers family make a variety of dairy products…barbers vintage

Barbers 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar represents the achievements in making cheddar for over six generations. A few batches each month are deemed good enough to be matured for 24 months to reach its full potential.
This creates a cheddar that is intense with complexity and depth of flavour.With a slight crunch caused by the breaking down of milk proteins as the cheese ages.

Maryland Farmhouse butter is churched in Somerset to the traditional recipe used by the Barber family since they started making butter in the 1800’s.
Special traditional cultures used in the Dairy provide this Farmhouse Butter with its own unique and distinctive flavour.
Produced on the farm from the cream of the fresh milk collected daily. Only salt added to compliment the natural flavours and to help preserve it longer.

Barbers West Country Cheddar is a lovely buttery cheese that has a full mouth coating feel, with notes such as fresh grass and milkiness, a gentle Cheddar perfect for an occassion.
barbers farmhouse

Special thanks goes out to the Barbers family for this beautiful cheese and…

http://www.barbers1833.co.uk/

for additional information and pictures.

West Country Cheddar

Quickes Cheddar

History of Cheddar cheese

Cheddars history is indisputably linked to the fertile counties of Devon & Somerset in SW England.
The EU has protected the word ‘Cheddar’ and only West Country Cheddars from Somerset, Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall may be officially called Cheddar. Now known as ‘West country Cheddars’
Where the word Cheddar has come from however, is a complete mystery as no Cheddar has ever been made in Cheddar!
The cheeses from the surrounding area of Mendip hills, south of Bristol in Somerset had become known as the ‘cheeses from cheddar’ from visiting tourists during the 17th Century. Maybe this is where the word ‘Cheddar cheese’ came from?

Quickes history

quickes logo

The Quickes family from the village of Newton St. Cyres in Devon have been making cheeses on this farm for 450 years.
In the 1530s when Richard Quicke married Elizabeth Bidwell. Her father, Thomas, had been given monastery land in Newton St. Cyres by Henry VIII after he fell out with the Catholic Church over his marriage to Anne Boleyn.
Like many things in history the Quickes family weren’t always so lucky but to this day they still reside in the town and the cheese lives on.

History of Quickes Cheddar

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Quickes is making the traditional farmhouse cheddars popular again, which is slowly becoming less popular due to the rapid pace at which some cheeses can be made, however speed produces cheeses without the complexity and depth of flavours. The production of great cheese takes time and care to produce, and Quickes dairy with the award winning Mary Quicke at the helm this cheese gains the respect it deserves.

Cheddar is made using the cheddaring process in the west country and this is why cheddar is only considered ‘proper cheddar’ when produced in the west country. This is a process when the curds and cut to the size of rice grains to remove as much moisture as possible as well as knitting the curds closely together.

Tasting notes

Quickes traditional Cheddars are matured from 6 months for mild cheese through to 24 months for special extra mature Cheddar. Each one wrapped in muslin, the cheese is allowed to breathe as it matures, forming the old fashioned rind that is the hallmark of traditional cheddar.
This cheese also available in a truckle, referring to the small size at 1.8kg

Creating a rich and dense cheese with a grainy texture due to the ‘cheddaring process’ with a grassy, buttery flavour and a long lingering Cheddar finish.

Oak smoked Cheddarquickes oak smoked

A beautifully smoked mature Cheddar at 12-15 months each wedge is specially selected to be smoked for 3-4 hours over oak chips from the farm’s woodland. The cheeses are cut into 1.5 Kg pieces prior to smoking as this ensures the flavour will infuse throughout the cheese and every batch has a consistent smokey flavour. No artificial flavourings are added.

Goat’s CheddarQuickes Goats

Made to the same tried and true traditional Cheddar recipe using locally sourced Goat’s milk. This is a stunner, with the gentle acidity that marries so well with the distinctive Cheddar taste. This pearly white cheese has a fresh fruity acidity that dances on the tongue. Truly one of my favourites.

A special thanks goes out to . . .
for extra historical and technical information as well pictures of these wonderful cheeses.

Shropshire blue

History of Shropshire Blue

Made of pasteurised cow’s milk, it is produced these days by the Long Clawson, Leicestershire, Cropwell Bishop and Colston Bassett dairies in Nottinghamshire. It takes 78 litres to make a 7kg wheel of Shropshire blue.

Made by a cheesemaker who originally worked in England mastering the art of making Stilton, took his craft back to his native Scotland and began to make the cheese with a twist… he added Annatto.
This seed of a fruit of the Achiote tree, common in South America gives the cheese its distinctive orange glow, used more of a colourant than a flavouring the cheese does have a slight sweetness on the palate.

shropshire whole

Annatto seeds
Annatto seeds

In the 1970s, it was made by Andy Williamson at the Castle Stuart dairy in Inverness. Therefore, it was called Blue Stuart or ‘Inverness-shire Blue’.
Unfortunately the cheese never took off and the dairy went bankrupt. Luckily for the cheese and us cheese lovers, not so lucky for Andy. The recipe was bought by a dairy in England and the rest they say is history.

But why Shropshire?
No one really knows why this cheese has been named after the county of Shropshire!

Tasting notes

Sometimes referred to as a cross between Stilton and Cheshire cheese.
Made with a vegetarian rennet and having a fat content of 48% the cheese is similar to Stilton as it has the same dry crumbly texture, with a spiciness reminiscent of a great English blue cheese, however there is a slight sweetness and butteryness to the cheese which lends its self perfectly well to the crowd that find Stilton just that little too punchy.

Paired with either a Port Noir or fruity Riesling to bring out the shy sweetness of the cheese it really is a delight not only aesthetically on a cheese platter but to the taste buds too.

Double Gloucestershire

History of Double Gloucester

This cheese can trace its origins back to 1498, originally the cheese was made from the milk of Cotswold Sheep.
But by Tudor times cow’s milk was the norm.. This came mainly from the Gloucester cows whose milk was ideal for cheesemaking with small fat globules that made a fine even textured cheese.

Single Gloucester is said to be made from skimmed milk double Gloucester is made from full fat milk giving it that rich buttery feel and the double refers to the morning and evening milks, this makes for a longer cheese making process but follows a more traditional cheese making recipe.

Quickes Clothbound Double Gloucester cheese
Quickes Clothbound Double Gloucester cheese

Maturing

It is unusual to find a Double Gloucester that has been produced using traditional methods but Mary Quicke of Quickes dairy in Devon, England has just done just that.
With her knowledgeable team at Quickes Dairy they have produced a pasturised cheese which they age for 4 months and release whilst it still has a beautiful buttery yet tangy flavour.

As it matures Double Gloucester becomes very hard and this may be one of the reasons why it is associated with the annual cheese rolling event at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester. Rumour has it that buyers of Double and Single Gloucester would often jump up and down on the cheese to assess its grade and suitability.

It is said that the carotene in the grasses around Gloucestershire made the cheese its beautiful golden hue for which it is known but nowadays the addition of Annatto seed is added to the milks.

Tasting notes

The farmhouse cheeses tend to be kept a little longer adding to their flavour and the clothbound cheeses are significantly harder and drier than their creamery counterparts and generally more expensive.
The taste is firm like a Cheddar, but buttery and smooth, it crumbles when you cut it but it’s not dry. With a slight tang on the back on the palate this cheese is a user friendly cheese, not overly powerful yet delicious in its melt in the mouth buttery way.

Older cheeses will develop more complex and nutty flavours and these marry beautifully with a proper English Ale.

Special thanks to…

http://www.quickes.co.uk/index.php?pg=otherCheeses

Quickes dairy for additional information of this wonderful glowing cheese.

Wensleydale

History of Wensleydale

This cheese has been made in Wensleydale since 1150, when the Cistercian monks first settled in the Yorkshire dales.
Originally made with Sheep’s milk but over time Cow’s milk was introduced, these recipes were handed down through the centuries. Produced in farmhouses these cheeses would naturally gain blue veining within the cracks of the cheese.

Wensleydale
Wensleydale

Over time Wensleydale fell on tough times. It took someone by the name of Kit Calvert in 1935 to gather enough support to rescue the only dairy producing cheese within the heart of Wensleydale.

Then war struck again and Wensleydale slowed dramatically in production and then ceasing altogether during rationing as only 1 Cheddar, the Government approved Cheddar was allowed to be made.

Luckily the cheese was revived yet again but as tastebuds changed the cheese was becoming less and less popular among the new generation.

Modern day Wensleydale

It took 2 cheese loving animation figures to bring the cheese to the forefront…

Wallace and Gromit made the cheese a talking point and it became implanted into the memory of every child and parent within the country and sales boomed.

Wallace-and-Gromit-Cheese1-300x300

It turns out the Wensleydale cheese factory was strugging at the time and almost went into bankruptcy. The success of Wallace and Gromit brought the factory back from the brink and they are currently once again a thriving dairy!

Tasting notes

When young, Wensleydale has a milky freshness and hint of lemon. As it matures so the flavours become more complex with a slightly sweet honey taste.
Wensleydale is a crumbly cheese but becomes firmer as it ages and in the case of the traditional cloth bound cheeses much drier.

At Christmas time it is not uncommon to see Wensleydale cheese with Cranberries, where cranberries are added to the cheese making process.

A special thanks for additional historical information by…

http://www.britishcheese.com/wensleydale

May

Gloucester cheese rolling festival

Today was the festival of cheese rolling in Gloucestershire, England.

A quirky festival where people run down a hill as fast as possible chasing a 3kg wheel of cheese.

The steep track
The steep track

I 2015 this year a local 19yr old won the men’s main race and he’s not even a cheese lover!
An Australian from Melbourne also took out one of the races and a hat trick was gained in the woman’s race making it her third winning year in a row!

This festival was cancelled by the police in 2010 due to public liability issues and the high number of accidents due to 17,000 people turning up.

However the locals have continued to host this festival, said to celebrate the arrival of spring, under a watchful eye of the authorities.

Chase that cheese!
Chase that cheese!

Wyfe of Bath

History of Wyfe of Bath

It’s been made in Bath under the same family for three generations, organic dairy farmer Graham Padfield started making cheese in 1993 using techniques from his grandmother who’d make it in the same family barn where she made her Cheddar.

Gabrielle, Grahams mother first started helping her son when they decided to start making the cheese as a business “We started off really simply, everything was done by hand. Sometimes we used to make a really good batch of cheese, and the cheesemongers from Paxton and Whitfield in Bath said that they wanted to sell it. It just grew from there really.” she says in a casual manner.

But Paxton & Whitfield are cheese suppliers to the Royal family, as well as being a very well respected cheese shop with hundreds of varieties of cheese from all around the world.
They have seen a 50% increase in their cheese sales and this is down to wholesome family cheesemaking.

The cheese takes its name from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and, like the tale, they say when you cut into a Wyfe of Bath you will get a taste old England.
I try to picture the quaint countryside of England, not medieval England as depicted in Blackadder!

Wyfe of bath

Wyfe of Bath cheeses being placed in the ripening room

Maturing

The curds are poured into cloth lined baskets giving it that distinctive shape and rind, then left to mature for 6 months. Named after ye olde worlde name for wife it is considered to be one of the best cheeses from the region.
The Friesian cows graze a lot of the year on meadows full of buttercups & clover and you can taste the floralness in the cheese, with buttery notes and slight nuttiness to it. With a pleasant piquant finish on the palate.

Wyfe of Bath

A special thanks to . . .

http://thefoodiebugle.com/index.php/article/kitchen-garden%20forcerecrawl:%200/the-bath-soft-cheese-company-meeting-the-padfield-family-at-park-farm-in-ke
for additional information and a lovely picture of the passionate people that make this beautiful cheese for the rest of us to enjoy.

Below is a wonderfully made advert from Tesco supermarket in the UK.

http://www.tellyads.com/show_movie.php?filename=TA0716

May

South of England food & drink festival

http://www.foodrockssouth.co.uk/home/

FOOD ROCKS SOUTH – 25th May 2014

So much more than a food & wine festival, this is a village fair on a giant scale.
Think organic, homegrown, pesticide & chemical free before it became hipster cool.

Meet the makers

Meet the farmer who makes the salami, the dairy farmer who makes the cheese, the wine grower who makes the wine (or more than likely the Cider from this part of the world.) And so much more.

This is a festival that’ll have your foodie heart sing with joy and your body will thank you for it with nothing artificial in sight!