History of Cheddar

Next to Stilton, Cheddar is one of the UK’s favourite cheeses with a history dating Cheeses_stored_at_Wookey_Hole_Cavesback to the 12th century and King Henry II and Daniel Defoe among its high profile supporters; the former claiming it to be the best in Britain and the latter dedicating a whole chapter to this famous cheese in his book ‘A Tour of the Islands of Great Britain’.

Originating in Somerset and taking its name from the village of Cheddar and Cheddar Gorge where it was once matured within the natural caves, this cheese is as popular today as ever. However today Cheddar is no longer only made in Somerset but all over the world resulting in a cheese that varies considerably in texture, flavour and appearance.

In 1996 Westcountry Farmhouse Cheddar was given Protected Designation of Origin status, meaning that it could only be made in the counties of Somerset, Queso-Cheddar-1 (2)Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. It must also be made to traditional methods such as ‘cheddaring’ where the whey is drained and the curds are stacked together, this is repeated and when matured the cheese will have a dense, crumbly texture. It must be made using locally sourced milk from the makers own farm and should be matured for at least nine months. These strict rules ensure that traditional farmhouse Cheddar remains just that.

During, and for some time after World War II the production of most cheeses was banned by the government due to shortages and rationing. One cheese, nicknamed ‘Government Cheddar’ was permitted, a standardised, bland and tasteless cheese but made in vast quantities to preserve milk. The effect of this was not realised until rationing was lifted in 1954, 3,400 cheese producers had shut down and it was thought that the art of making cheeses had been lost. Luckily for us this was not the case and artisan cheesemakers started to spring Image009up around the country, creating cheddars that reflected the land, the season and the passion of their makers.

We stock a wide range of Cheddar cheeses including Barbers Farmhouse, Taw Valley and Quicke’s Traditional. Try some today and fall in love with cheddar again.

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Our Favourite Summer Cheeses

The sun is out and summer is finally here! What better time to enjoy some fresh, summer cheeses out in the garden than on these warm, light evenings? We’ve listed a few of our favourites below.

rosemary-honey-drizzled-fetaOur first choice is a staple of summer, Feta is strong and rich in salty flavours and will instantly transport you to a sun drenched beachside taverna. Protected Designation of Origin means Feta can only be produced in Greece and is believed to have originated from nomadic tribes who needed to preserve the milk of their goats and sheep. Drizzle with a little olive oil and pair with some olives and sundried tomatoes or honey and fresh rosemary for instant summer feels.

We know the blues are normally winter domain but this Cornish Blue from the Cornish Cheese Co. is a delicious exception. Made on the edge of Bodmin MoorMail-chimp-Cornish-Blue-Cheese-Xmas-image using locally sourced milk this is vastly different from traditional blue cheeses. Mild and creamy with a gentle sweetness, it is designed to be eaten young and is perfect with honey, almonds and fresh crusty bread.

We think the new Quicke’s Traditional Elderflower cheddar is a real summer treat. Matured for up to six months by expert cheesemakers in Newton St Cyres, Devon, this is a fresh, buttery cheddar with delicate hints of elderflower. Try it with some good quality biscuits or crackers and a crisp white and you’ll be in summer heaven.

A soft cheese alternative is the Le Roule from the Vosges region of France which laroule_EvZI1PYis made using pasteurised cows milk and easily recognisable because of its distinctive herb swirl. Fresh and creamy garlic and herb flavours and a smooth texture make this a deliciously light summer treat. Best enjoyed spread on fresh, crusty bread or even as a savory breakfast.

Treat yourself this summer and enjoy the delights of these light, fresh cheeses.

 

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New Branded Pre-Packs!

Barber's Group ShotWe are delighted to announce that we are introducing a new range of branded pre-packs from Barber’s Cheese (Maryland) and Quicke’s of Devon from mid July. While we already stock both of these producers as both bulk and pre-packs we feel that the new branded packs will really stand out on your shelves and increase sales. These packs will be fixed weight and priced per block with branded labels, they will also not be price marked which will allow you to set your own prices.

Barber’s have been producing their award winning cheeses on Maryland Farm since 1833. Using traditional techniques and the finest West Country milk their skilled cheesemakers produce delicious farmhouse cheeses which are full of flavour and texture. Cheeses range from their Vintage Reserve, matured for 24 months with rich, complex flavours to Mellow, a creamy, smooth and buttery cheese and everything in between.

The Quicke’s have also been producing traditional Cheddars for over 500 years, QuickesGroupcombining the best West Country produce with time honoured techniques and the knowledge of their expert cheesemakers. Their cheeses are traditionally cloth bound and given varying maturation periods with the longest, the Vintage maturing for up to two years to fully develop its full bodied, intensely creamy, caramel flavours.

We will also be introducing some pre-packed flavoured cheeses from Ford Farm, another West Country Farmhouse cheesemaker established forty years ago and using recipes dating back over 600 years. Their traditional cave aged Wookey Hole Cheddar has received many accolades and has a distinctive earthy flavour due to being coastal-cheddarmatured deep underground at the Wookey Hole Caves. Other cheeses included in this range are the Dorset Red – an oak smoked cheese, Double Gloucester with Chives and Onion and new to us the Coastal Cheddar – matured for at least 15 months with a distinctive crunch due to naturally forming calcium lactate crystals.

These branded pre-packs will be available from mid July so watch this space for more details!

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New Flavoured Sausages!

Established more than forty years ago W.F. Chinn are producers of high quality burgers and sausages made in Crediton, Devon. Building on the legacy of founder Mr Chinn owners Tony & Rose Palmer are continually developing new and exciting flavours using 100% British meat.

Popular flavours include their honeyroast pork sausages with a deliciously sweet twist, traditional cumberland sausages, pork and red onion and chorizo sausages. This month also sees the introduction of their smoked maple and chilli sausages as their flavour of the month. Rich and smoky these are perfect char-grilled on the bbq or enjoyed oven baked with peppers, onion, garlic and spices. The slight sweetness from the maple is complimented by the smokiness and hint of chilli. Why not try some for yourself?

Chinn’s also produce their own burgers including pork & apple and succulent beef burgers made using 100% British meat and available in packs of four. In short, they have all the meat you’ll need for your next bbq!

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Cheese Showcase: Quicke’s Traditional

quickesrange_0tyg-ljThe Quicke’s, based on Home Farm, Newton St Cyres near Exeter are producers of award winning traditional cheeses. Using time-honored techniques and recipes that date back generations each cheese is individually crafted by expert cheesemakers who strive to create perfect cheeses every time. The maturation process varies with each cheese, some are even matured for up to two years to give them the signature depth of flavour that is so recognisable.

Traditional Mature
We currently stock a range of the Quicke’s cheeses including the traditional Mature which is their benchmark cheese. Clothbound and typically matured for up to 15 months it has intense, rich and complex flavours ranging from buttery caramel to sharp, grassy notes which develop on the palate. A truly outstanding cheese it is no surprise that it has won a number of awards including Taste of the West, World Cheese Awards and Artisan Cheese Awards.

Goats CheeseQuickes-Goats-Cheese-200_820x
Quicke’s Goats Cheese is another fantastic product. Made using locally sourced high quality goats milk it is matured for less time than some of their other cheeses at only six months, however it is full of vibrant, buttery, nutty ‘goat’ flavours and is wonderfully smooth textured.

Oak Smoked
Once their traditional Cheddar has matured some are selected to become Quicke’s Oak Smoked. Cut into smaller 1.5kg sizes to allow the smoky flavour to infuse throughout the entire cheese it is then cold smoked over oak chips from their own trees for up to four hours. The cheese develops a subtle, smoky and buttery flavour and attractive deep orange colouring.

We currently stock these cheeses in both bulk and pre-packed sizes suitable for catering and the retail market. Call today to order yours!

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It’s British Sandwich Week!

high-tea-sandwiches-finger-sandwichesThe humble sandwich ranges from the ultimate grab and go lunch to dainty afternoon tea finger food and towering meat monstrosities covered in cheese that demand your attention.

The sandwich’s invention is accredited to John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich who ordered cold beef between slices of toast in order to eat without disturbing his game of cards and today the sandwich is a firm stable of lunchboxes up and down the country.

Part of the sandwich’s longevity is the vast array of fillings available and new combinations being created every day. We now have more choice than ever in what we put between our bread and yet in a recent survey to discover Britain’s favourite sandwich fillings the top three were cheese, ham and cheese and ham salad. It seems that contemporary flavour revolutions have a long way to go to beat the old classics.

And why not make the best out of the classics? Try a cheese sandwich made with simple, delicious Vintage Reserve cheese from Barbers Cheesemakers. Matured cat-699-720-1for up to 24 months this cheese is rich and powerful in flavour with a smooth and creamy texture. Or for those craving more flavour try a mozzerella sandwich with fresh basil and tomato to really taste the summer. Likewise ham and cheese sandwiches can be enjoyed simply, with great quality premium Devon ham and our full bodied, creamy Baskerville Extra Mature. For a ham salad sandwich the star of the show has to be the ham. All of our sliced hams are sourced from Plymouth and have many accolades including Taste of the West and South West Food & Drink awards. Pair premium quality ham with fresh mixed leaves, juicy tomatoes and cucumber for a deliciously simple sandwich.

Enjoy British Sandwich Week!

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Waterhouse Fayre extended range!

We have been stocking Waterhouse Fayre jams, chutneys and preserves for a while now and the range keeps extending!

Based on the outskirts of Tiverton, this family run company produces award winning products using home grown and locally sourced fruits. This excellent base combined with recipes passed down through generations and given a modern twist by founder Ann Stallard results in outstanding jams and chutneys.

imagesTraditional jam favourites include double gold award winner strawberry, rich apricot, and raspberry jam made using five different varieties of raspberry. More unusual flavours include pear and honey jam with deliciously delicate pear and sweet, subtle honey, beautiful rhubarb and ginger jam made with red rhubarb and both root and crystallised ginger and whortleberry jam made using wild blueberries grown on Dartmoor and Exmoor.

The ingenious flavours don’t stop with jam, Waterhouse Fayre chutneys are fast becoming bestsellers. Their peach, date & chilli chutney combines slightpond weeed sweetness with a kick of chilli heat, slow roasted garlic chutney with red onions, spices and red wine vinegar has a sweet, mellow flavour and haymakers pickle made with apple, onions and subtle curry spices is delicious with a ploughmans lunch.

Ann is continually developing new flavours such as the new for 2018 fresh turmeric chutney with mango, pineapple, ginger and garlic and spicy tomato chutney rich in tomato and chilli flavours as well as Exmoor pond weed chutney made from unripened green tomatoes, apples, onion and spices. There is always a new flavour to discover from Waterhouse Fayre!

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Cheese Showcase: Sharpham Dairy

Sharpham Dairy was established in the grounds of the Sharpham Estate in 1981 using the eighteenth century coachouse as their creamery. As their cheeses  became more popular, they relocated to a purpose built creamery next to the winery where they have continued producing high quality, award winning cheeses ever since. Their cheese may now be made in a modern building but the team still employ traditional cheese making techniques and use the rich, fresh milk from their own Jersey cattle to produce these great cheeses. We’ve listed a few of our favourites from Sharpham below.

rustic chiveRustic with Chives and Garlic
This is a semi-hard, unpasteurised cheese with an intense, savoury depth of flavour due to the addition of fresh pureed garlic. The cheese is turned weekly to ensure even maturation and its coat is rubbed by hand to form a thin, natural rind. The fresh, lemony creaminess of the cheese is complimented by the fresh chives and pureed garlic to create a truly delicious cheese.

Sharpham BrieSharphamBrie_(2)
This is a handmade original recipe brie with rich, buttery flavours and creamy texture. It is made from the combination of simple ingredients: fresh Jersey cows’ milk, starter cultures, salt, vegetarian rennet and nothing else. Once the cheese is made it is left for seven days for its natural rind to grow, and then further matured for four weeks in breathable paper. It is a slow ripening cheese turning from chalky to a soft and gooey brie.

Ticklemore Goat
Originally made by Ticklemore Dairy it is now part of the neighbouring Sharpham family. A pasteurised semi-hard goats cheese full of zesty, lemon sharphamticklemoorgoats (2)flavours and with a moist, slightly crumbly texture. Like the Rustic this cheese is turned regularly and rubbed by hand to form its signature white rind.

We currently stock these cheeses in both bulk and pre-packed sizes suitable for catering and retail use. Call us today to order yours!

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Quick & Tasty Lunch Recipes

Sick of the same boring sandwiches for lunch? Try some of our great tasting recipes and get out of your lunchtime rut.

Bacon, Brie and Cranberry Panini

brie paniniIngredients:
200g smoked back bacon
30g Somerset brie
1 panini roll
2½ tablespoons cranberry sauce

Method:
1: Grill the bacon until crispy, slice the brie and the panini roll.
2: Spread the cranberry sauce over one side of the panini.
3: Add the bacon and brie and if using grill in a sandwich maker. If not place under a grill until the brie starts to melt, cover with baking parchment and place a hot skillet on the top for two minutes.

Lentil TabouliDJQZvZOuKerAfB3t-lTl9N

Great for a quick lunch fix this mixes Delphi tabouli with lentils and tomatoes for a healthy, satisfying lunch.

Ingredients:
170g Delphi tabouli
100g puy lentils
200g cherry tomatoes

Method:
1: Rinse the lentils and cook in salted water until tender, drain and set aside to cool
2: Halve the tomatoes and add to the cooled lentils
3: Add the tabouli and season with salt and black pepper

Goats Cheese & Chorizo Omlette

Another quick and tasty lunch recipe full of delicious flavours using rich and creamy Capricorn goats cheese and authentic, smokey Spanish chorizo – guaranteed to keep you going through the afternoon.

recipe-image-legacy-id--3280_12Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 tsp sunflower oil
50g sliced chorizo
30g goats cheese
handful chopped chives

Method:
1: Beat the eggs together in a bowl, stir in the chives and season with salt and black pepper.
2: Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chorizo for three minutes.
3: Pour in the egg and cook for one minute, or until set and add the cheese. Cook for 30 seconds or until the cheese begins to melt slightly and enjoy!

Spinach & Cheddar Savoury Muffins

These delicious savoury muffins make a great lunchtime treat or quick snack. We’ve used Barbers 1833 Cheddar here which has a powerful, strong and complex flavour that really comes through in the muffins.

Ingredients:033 spinach goat muffins
2 eggs
150ml milk
75g melted butter
150g grated Cheddar
1 chopped spring onion
75g chopped spinach
250g self raising flour
½ vegetable stock cube

Method:
1: Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.
2: Whisk the eggs and stir in the milk and melted butter. Add the grated cheese, spring onion and spinach.
3: Add the flour and crumble in the stock cube, mix until the ingredients have combined.
4: Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden on top.

Make your lunchtimes more exciting by trying any of these recipes and let us know how yours turn out!

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The Best Cornwall Cheeses! (in our opinion)

In 2017 Cornish Kern, made by Lynher Dairies, was voted as the World’s Best Cheese at the annual World Cheese Awards. As a relatively small dairy this was a huge achievement and got us thinking about other great cheeses originating from our neighbouring county, we’ve listed a few of our favourite Cornish cheeses to nibble on below.

cheeseroundCornish Blue
Cornish Blue is made by the Cornish Cheese Company using local Cornish milk from a family farm on the edge of Bodmin Moor. The cheese differs from its traditional counterparts in that it is designed to be eaten when young, making its flavours much more mild, creamy and slightly sweet than its tangy cousins. The cheese production process is entirely carried out by hand by highly skilled cheesemakers, resulting in a delicious, crumbly blue cheese.

Miss Thymed
This creamy, delicate cheese is made by Whalesborough Cheese, a small batch artisan cheese makers based on the North Cornwall coast. Miss Thymed was created by taking their sweet, continental style Miss Muffet and blending it with Lemon & Thyme Cornish Sea Salt, creating a delicious citrus cheese perfectly complimented by nutty, savoury undertones.

Cornish Medium Gouda2599
This cheese is hand crafted by Giel Spierings and the skilled cheesemakers of the Cornish Gouda Company, based near Looe and producers of artisan cheeses. The cheese is made using rich milk from the farms own herd of Holstein Friesian cows and traditional Dutch cheese making techinques. It is matured for 5-6 months and is smooth and creamy with nutty flavours.

Garlic Yarg
Yarg is made by Lynher Dairies, one of the most successful artisan cheese makers in the country, who are based in Ponsanooth, Cornwall. This cheese is made to the same recipe as their award winning Yarg with the addition of wild garlic 486-1leaves which lends a gentle, fresh savoury flavour to the creamy, mild cheese as it matures.

These small scale dairies prove that local, natural ingredients, fresh, rich milk and highly skilled cheesemakers produce the best cheese – and even better, their right next door!

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