Devon Cheese

Devon has a rich history of dairy farming which lends itself rather well to cheese production. The rich milk from well nourished herds roaming freely among lush green pastures produces delicious artisan cheeses. We’ve listed a few of our favourite Devon cheeses below.

Dartmoor ChilliCurworthy Cheese 
Based at Stockbeare Farm near Okehampton in Devon, Curworthy have been producing top quality artisan cheeses for the last 25 years. The milk is sourced from local dairy farms and pasteurised on site to produce award winning cheeses. Their signature Devon Oke is made to a recipe dating back to the 17th century and has mellow, slightly sweet flavours and a creamy texture. Newer cheeses include Dartmoor Chilli which blends Devon Oke with fiery Ring of Fire chillies grown at the nearby South Devon Chilli Farm and Devon Maid, a mould ripened soft cheese with rich and creamy flavours and described as a combination between brie and camembert.

Sharpham Cheese
Sharpham Dairy was established in 1981 on the Sharpham Estate near Totnes, SharphamBrie_(2)Devon. They produce hand made artisan cheeses using the rich milk from their own herd of Jersey cows and today employ traditional cheese making techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ the cheese by hand. Their cheeses include the Rustic which is a semi-hard, unpasteurised cheese with fresh, lemony flavours, there is also a variation using fresh garlic and chives which lends a savoury depth to the cheese. Their brie is award winning with delicious buttery flavours and creamy texture.

QuickesGeneralImage_wok4-m7Quickes Cheese
The Quickes have been producing traditional cloth bound Cheddar on Home Farm near Exeter, Devon for the last 500 years using recipes passed down through the generations and milk from their own herd. Their cheeses are all made by hand and allowed to slowly mature for the best flavours. Their vintage cheese is matured for up to two years which allows the rich caramel flavours to fully develop, resulting in a full bodied, complex cheese. Their cloth bound goats cheese is full of buttery, creamy flavours with distinct nutty undertones and is typically matured for six months.

Ticklemore Cheese
Ticklemore Cheese are based in Totnes, Devon and have been making cheeses for the last 40 years. One of its founders Robin Congdon was a pioneer in the 1970’s, reviving the tradition of milking sheep in the UK. One of their most popular Beenleigh3cheeses is the Devon Blue which is made using pasteurised milk from local farms. It has clean, buttery flavours and moist, slightly crumbly texture. Another favourite is the Beenleigh Blue which is a ewes milk cheese. The milk is only available in the Spring and early Summer, during this time as much Beenleigh as possible is made, some is then kept back at colder temperatures to last throughout the year. The result is varying seasonal flavours, early cheeses are light and fresh while the matured cheese is richer and creamier.

We are proud to stock local cheeses and support local dairies wherever possible, it does help that Devon produces some great tasting cheeses!


Vegetarian Cheeses

Traditional cheese making techniques require the use of rennet in the ‘curdling’ process whereby the curds and whey are separated, the problem with this for vegetarians is that this rennet is sourced from the stomach of young calves. Luckily many cheeses produced in the UK are now made using alternative rennet such as fungal/bacterial sources and genetically modified micro-organisms. However there are some cheeses such as Parmesan, Grana Padano and Gorgonzola that have to be produced to traditional methods including the use of calf rennet, these are therefore unsuitable for vegetarians. While the following list is not by any means exhaustive, it includes some of our most popular cheeses made using vegetarian rennet.

tawvalleyrange_ck6q-r8We’ll start with traditional Cheddar; all of our Taw Valley, Maryland and Ford Farmhouse range are suitable for vegetarians.
Based in North Tawton, Devon the Taw Valley master cheesemakers use high quality milk sourced from local farms and traditional recipes to produce great tasting cheeses. Barbers of Maryland Farm are one of the few farms awarded Protection of Designation of Origin status meaning that their Cheddar is made to exacting standards including using milk sourced from Devon, Cornwall, Somerset or Dorset, using traditional techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ and allowing the cheese to mature for at least nine months. Ford Farm are based in Dorset and have been producing Cheddar for over forty years using methods and recipes dating back over 600 years.

Quickes are producers of traditional cloth bound cheeses and while some of theirQuickes-Elderflower-Clothbound-Cheese-styled_820x range uses animal rennet they also have a range suitable for vegetarians including their Elderflower cheese. Based near Exeter in Devon the team make all the cheese by hand using techniques which have been passed through the generations for over 500 years. This elderflower cheese is a fresh and creamy Cheddar with real elderflower running through it. It is delicately scented with rich and buttery flavours.

Devon Blue is made by Ticklemore Cheese near Totnes, Devon without the use of rennet making it suitable for vegetarians. Made using unpasteurised Friesian cows’ milk sourced from local dairies, it is allowed to mature for up to eight months to allow the flavour to fully develop and is moist, slightly crumbly in texture with buttery rich flavours.

Tim_Schofield_Photo_150520-83Cornish Brie is made by Trevarrian Creamery on the North Cornwall coast using locally sourced milk, this rich Cornish milk is what gives the brie its characteristic yellow, buttery colouring. Best of all it is made using vegetarian rennet with a soft and silky texture and mild, creamy flavour. For added luxury try their St Endellion Brie which is made with added double cream and still suitable for vegetarians.

Check out our website for the full range of cheeses suitable for vegetarians and discover something new!


Have you tried paté?

Paté is one of those foods that if you haven’t tried it is distinctly unappealing, it doesn’t look like something you would willingly put in your mouth and just a quick look at the ingredients list leaves you running for the hills. What are you supposed to do with this loaf of minced meat that screams of 1970s dinner parties in the same way that prawn cocktail does? But if you manage to get over all of that, paté can be utterly delicious especially when paired with the right accompaniments.
FarmhousePate_7l7l-jcClassic paté is believed to have originated in Ancient Greece as a way of utilizing every part of the animal to provide livelihood and prevent wastage. Traditionally it had a homely, rustic appeal but there has now been a shift in how patés and terrines are viewed, with some even appearing in Michelin starred restaurants as well as on your own kitchen table. There are many different types of paté from smoked fish to traditional chicken liver as well as the more chunky terrines. We’ve kept things simple and listed a few of them below.

Lets start with one of the most popular here in the UK, Brussels paté. This is smooth textured and usually made using pork and liver and flavoured with garlic, black pepper and cloves.
Ardennes paté is coarser in texture than Brussels but is made using roughly the same ingredients, pork, liver and fat and flavoured with mixed herbs and spices.
Duck and Orange paté, the clue is in the name, is made using duck and pork liver  and is flavoured with orange zest and mixed herbs.
Farmhouse campagne paté is perhaps the best known of them all, made using pork liver and flavoured with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, this is a coarse textured paté with mountains of flavour.pate-starter (2)

So now you know your patés, but when should you eat them and what should you be eating them with? Patés can be enjoyed as a simple yet effective starter with freshly made toast and perhaps a dollop of fruity chutney or as lunch dish with a warm, crusty baguette or roll. They are even at home alongside slices of meat, cheese, breads, olives and chutneys in an antipasto platter. Whatever you fancy, there is a paté for that and we’re sure you’ll find one that you love. Go on, give it a go.


Sheep & Goats Cheeses

Today goat and sheep milk cheeses are becoming much more common in the UK due to varying tastes and the desire to discover something new.
There are differences in both flavours and textures of these cheese. Cows milk has a much higher fat content than most other milks and this makes very creamy and rich cheese. Goats milk has more of an earthy, slightly sweet flavour and a low fat content while sheep milk produces rich, buttery cheeses. Below are some of our favourite sheep and goats milk cheeses.

Beenleigh3Beenleigh Blue
Beenleigh is made by Ticklemore Cheese in Totnes, South Devon. As the milk is only available in the spring and early summer as much cheese as possible is made then to last throughout the year. This results in very clear seasonal variations in flavour, the young cheese is light and fresh with citrus flavours whereas the matured cheese is more robust with earthy, rich notes and creamy texture with delicate blue veining throughout.

Capricorn Goats CheeseCapricorn_Goats_Cheese_Eva_400(1)
Made by The Lubborn Creamery in Somerset using locally sourced goats milk, this is a soft and creamy cheese bursting with nutty flavours. It has a firm, slightly crumbly texture and ripens from the outside towards the centre – developing even more creaminess as it ages. Vegetarian rennet is used in its production making Capricorn suitable for vegetarians.

fossewayfleece02Fosseway Fleece
Fosseway is made by The Somerset Cheese Company using milk sourced from their own farm. It takes its name from the old Roman ‘Fosse Way’ road that runs close to the village of Ditcheat where the cheese is made. This is a smooth textured hard cheese with fresh, clean and mellow flavours and for this reason is a great introduction to ewes milk cheeses.

Quickes GoatQuickes-Goats-Cheese-200_820x
Vibrant and creamy this goats cheese from the Quickes is traditionally cloth bound with luxurious buttery, nutty flavours. Based in Newton-St-Cyres, East Devon and using milk from local farms this goats cheese is full of creamy flavours and a firm texture.

Why not experiment and try some cheeses made using sheep and goats milk? You might find a new favourite.


Midweek Recipes

Cooking during the week can often be uninspiring and more concerned with filling up than actually focusing of flavour. These simple, quick and easy recipes will turn midweek meals into gourmet delights.

Bacon and Stilton Risotto 

A tasty risotto that can be ready in just 15 minutes, this uses smoked, streaky bacon and Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton to create a rich and creamy risotto.

400g risotto rice
2½ pints hot chicken stock
125g smoked streaky bacon
50g crumbled stilton
large handful chopped curly parsley


1: Heat a large pan until hot, add the rice and toast for 1 minute. Gradually add the stock making sure to stir well after each addition, only add more once the stock as been absorbed. Continue until the rice is cooked.
2: While the rice is cooking preheat the grill. Grill the bacon until crisp and set aside to drain on a kitchen towel, roughly chop.
3: Stir two-thirds of the bacon and parsley into the risotto then crumble in the stilton. Garnish with the remaining parsley and bacon.

Spanish Style Sausage and Chorizo Tray Bake

Bring the tastes of Spain to your dinner table with this easy to prepare and great tasting bake, best of all – all in one pot so less washing up! We’ve used W F Chinn’s red onion sausages which go really well with the paprika and oregano flavours as well as authentic Spanish chorizo dry cured with smoked paprika.


1 red onion, cut into wedges16402926_252133628557583_5575190899514164418_o
500g new potatoes, quartered length ways
8 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
8 tomatoes, quartered
4 courgettes, sliced
75g chorizo, sliced
8 Chinn’s red onion sausages
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ dried oregano
1 green pepper, sliced


1: Preheat the oven to 200C/ gas mark 6. Put the onions, potatoes, garlic, courgettes and tomatoes into a large roasting tin and season with salt and black pepper, toss together and roast for 20 minutes.
2: Meanwhile slice the chorizo and score the sausages. Mix the paprika and oregano together and set aside.
3: Take the roasting tin out of the oven , add the sliced pepper and scatter in the chorizo then turn everything over a few times. Place the sausages on top and sprinkle with the paprika and oregano. Return to the oven for 20 minutes and its ready to serve!

Haloumi with a Lime and Caper Salad

Ready in under 30 minutes, filling yet reasonably healthy this is a cheese lovers delight. We’ve used authentic Greek haloumi, dry fried for that crispy coating.


1 250g haloumi cheese
2 tbsp flour
1 large tomato, diced
2 spring onions, chopped69zshSap_720x450_a9f2cd03

For the dressing:
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 heaped tbsp capers, drained
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
1 heaped tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1: Unwrap the cheese and pat it dry with kitchen paper then slice it into eight slices, including the ends.
2: Prepare the dressing by simply whisking all of the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl
3: Heat the frying pan on a medium heat, no oil is needed for dry frying the haloumi. Press each slice of cheese into the flour to coat it on both sides. Cook for 1 minute on each side.
4: Assemble the salad and serve the haloumi on top with the dressing.


Stilton and its Mysterious Origins

bellstilton1Alongside Cheddar, Stilton is one of the UK’s most famous cheeses. But unlike Cheddar its origins are steeped in mystery and until as late as 2009 it was universally accepted that it was never actually produced in the village of Stilton but took its name from being sold in the village. The cheese was sold from The Bell Inn which was a resting point for weary travellers on their way to and from London along the Great North Road. Its landlord, Cooper Thornhill, became an entrepreneur selling the cheese not just to travellers but into London itself and as demand for the cheese grew Thornhill began seeking new sources from neighbouring Leicestershire. It is believed that this is where the myth of Stilton originating from this area began. However extensive research uncovered convincing evidence of a cheese made in Stilton in the early eighteenth century.

Today Stilton has been given Protected Designation of Origin status which means that it can only be produced in the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire by only six individual dairies: Colston Bassett, Cropwell Bishop, Hartington Creamery, Long Clawson, Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery and Websters. In order to call their cheese Blue Stilton they must meet certain criteria; it must be made using local, pasteurised milk, must form its own crust and must have blue veining radiating from the centre of the cheese.stilton3

We are lucky enough to stock Stilton from both the Long Clawson Dairy and Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery. Made to a traditional recipe dating back to 1780 the Tuxford & Tebbutt brand is a guarantee of award-winning Blue Stilton with delicious rich and creamy flavours and a piquant finish. Long Clawson Dairy was established in 1911 to ensure that the cheese and the methods used to make it would survive for generations to come. It is a bold, expressive cheese with rich and tangy flavours.

This rich and unique history results in a fantastic cheese. It is no wonder that it has stood the test of time and is still considered the ‘King of English Cheeses’.


Meat and cheese anyone?

Meat and cheese go well together, this much we know. Whether it’s on an antipasto platter, in a sandwich or a burger, there are so many delicious flavour combinations to discover. We’ve listed a few of them below.

Lets start with a classic ham and cheese sandwich, the salty, slightly sweet flavours of the ham pairs brilliantly with a number of cheeses. For smoked or unnamedhoney roasted ham a softer, creamy cheese such as Emmental works well but if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous try it with a Gorgonzola or Cambozola for a rich and sharp contrast. For more salty hams such as our Devon cured or sandwich ham a full bodied Cheddar such as the Wookey Hole Cave Aged is the way to go, its distinctive earthy, nuttiness compliments the savoury ham.

Whatever the occasion an antipasto board is a welcome addition to any table – full of different colours, textures and most importantly flavours, they bring everyone together in a shared love of food. For the cured meats try and mix different textures such as thinly sliced prosciutto and peppery salami. Similarly with the cheeses try and go for one soft or semi-soft cheese such as a Somerset Brie or Sharpham’s Rustic and one hard cheese such as a Wensleydale or Stilton. Play around with flavours and maybe try something you haven’t tried before as well as old favourites.

Everyone has a different opinion on burgers, some prefer simple Cheddar – we854037-1-eng-GB_final-brie-burger-470x540 think the Maryland Vintage adds a great depth of flavour – others are a little more daring with Gorgonzola and Gruyere making an appearance. Soft cheeses such as brie or camembert can also take a burger to new heights. But if you want to add more heat to your burger why not try it with a spicy cheese such as our Afterburn or Mexicana?

The options for cheese and meat pairings are limitless, try whatever takes your fancy and you might just discover something amazing.


Healthier Cheeses

Believe it or not there are some cheeses out there that won’t ruin your diet and will also taste great.

As a nation we consume up to 700,00 tonnes of cheese per year and while cheese contains a number of essential nutrients such as calcium and protein, we can’t get away from its high quantity of saturated fat. Below are a few of our favourite reduced fat cheeses which can still be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Dorset Blue Vinny

Dorset_Blue_Vinny02Who knew this was low fat! The story of this cheese is that it started off as an efficient way of using up ‘left over’ milk after the cream had been skimmed off for making butter. This means that it has a naturally very low fat content but is still rich in the buttery, creamy flavours you would expect from a blue cheese. Made on Woodbridge Farm, Dorset using the milk from their own herd of Friesian cows this is a delicious cheese with the added bonus of being low fat.

Taw Valley Reduced Fat Cheddar

It’s all in the name for this one! Taw Valley Creamery started developing this reduced fat cheese in response to changing customer needs. It has become very popular as the strong, punchy flavours of traditional Cheddar still come through without the heavy fat content. It is rich, creamy and full of flavour thanks to the time honoured cheese making methods mixed with modern innovations used by the team.


We all know that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world and one of its staples is Feta cheese. It is packed full of nutrients including calcium and vitamin B12 and is relatively low in calories and fat. Feta is a creamy, soft cheese with strong, salty flavours – a little goes a long way here.

Sharpham BrieSharphamBrie_(2)

Despite its reputation brie is actually lower in fat than standard Cheddar and while this isn’t technically low fat we think every once in a while isn’t too bad. This is made on the Sharpham Estate near Totnes, South Devon using the milk of their own Jersey cattle. It is a creamy brie with unique, buttery flavours.

There you have it, some guilt free, delicious cheeses to keep you smiling this January!


Farmhouse vs. Factory Cheese

It goes without saying that there is a huge difference in quality between traditional, hand made artisan cheeses and generic, industrial cheeses.

cheese-making-olden-daysCheeses that are made, shaped and nurtured by hand have more care and expertise go into them than the bog standard Cheddar. They are also, in most circumstances, either made using milk from the makers own herd or sourced locally. The result is cheese that varies in taste, texture and overall appearance throughout the year. A Cheddar made on a small farm in Somerset has a very different taste to Cheddar made anywhere else. In fact there are only six dairies worldwide that make West Country Farmhouse Cheddar with Protected Designation of Origin status. This award is an assurance of the quality and authenticity of the cheese; it has to be made using milk from the counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon or Cornwall, it must be made using traditional techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ or turning the curds by hand and it must be matured for at least nine months.

In contrast many processed cheeses are uniformly made using milk from a largeProduction_of_cheese_1 number of different dairies in a very controlled process. A factory will produce many different cheeses and because of this the milk goes through a number of processes such as heat treating to minimise spoilage before pasteurisation and removing much of the fat content. In farmhouse cheeses this fat is essential to the flavour and texture of the cheese; while it isn’t as good for your waistline, it’ll certainly taste a lot better!

Here at Isca Foods we are passionate about supporting small-scale dairies and their fantastic cheeses. It is important that the skills and time-honoured techniques needed to make them are not lost. This is why we are proud to say that almost all of our cheeses can be traced back to the farm in which they were made. Have a look at our cheese pages for more information.


Source Food & Drink Show 2018

Source_rgb_Locurl-300x187Happy New Year to all our customers! Now the festive season has drawn to a close we are starting to think about the annual Source Trade Show which this year falls on the 7th-8th February and is being held at the Westpoint Exhibition Centre, Exeter.

We will be exhibiting there on both days with a range of our products on show and some tasty samples for you to try. Pop along and say hello!

There will also be demonstrations from local, award winning chefs as well as a cocktail competition.

Visit for more info, we hope to see you there.