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’.

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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.

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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.

Feta

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!

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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.

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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 www.thesourcetradeshow.co.uk for more info, we hope to see you there.

 

 

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Whalesborough Cheese

Whalesborough Cheese is a small family business based on the North Cornwall coast which produce top quality, award winning cheeses. Using pasteurised cows’ milk from local dairies and their own unique recipes, their cheeses are full and rich in flavour with their own individual characters.

Until recently we only stocked their Cornish Crumbly, a Lancashire style cheese with creamy, citrus flavours. We are now stocking more of their range including Miss-Muffet-Truckle-Buy-Onlinetheir Miss Muffet, Keltic Gold and Cornish Smuggler.

Miss Muffet is a slightly sweet, continental style cheese with a supple texture and nutty, creamy flavour. It’s pink/grey natural mould rind is unique to their maturing room and the cheese itself has won many awards including Great Taste Gold and Silver at the International Cheese Awards.

Keltic Gold is a creamy and smooth textured washed rind cheese. Local cider is used to dip and scrub the cheese three times a week which gives a distinct sweet apple flavour and edible orange rind. It has won Gold at the World Cheese Awards and Silver at the British Cheese Awards.

Cornish Smuggler is a more traditional farmhouse cheese with deep creamyCORNISH-SMUGGLER-CHEESE flavours. The vegetable dye annatto is added as the curds are placed in moulds, creating a marbling effect which looks great on a cheeseboard. It has won Bronze at the British Cheese Awards.

These cheeses are available in both bulk and pre-packed sizes to suit your requirements. Contact us for more information.

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Orchardlea and Pre-Packs

Back in December 2013 owners of local, prestigious pre-packer Orchardlea Foods decided to retire and offered the business to us. Orchardlea is now the brand we use for all of our pre-packed products including cooked meats, cheese, pate and bacon. The increased range meant that we developed two five star cutting and packing rooms which could handle the number of orders coming through.

HoneyRoastHam_tw5b-mmToday our Orchardlea products include quality, freshly cut and sliced meats such as delicious sweet-cured honey roast ham, traditional pork haslet, hand sliced black pudding and topside roast beef. These are all sliced and vacuum packed on site to keep the same freshness and quality.

Our pre-packed cheese range includes cheeses from both small, independent and nationally renowned dairies. From traditional Cheddar and Stilton to more unusual varieties such as the nettle wrapped Cornish Yarg and the hand moulded Sharpham Rustic with fresh pureed garlic and chives, there is a cheese to suit all tastes. All of our cheeses aredevonblue_ubcw-fm sliced and packed on site to retain their fresh flavours.

This range is perfect for the retail sector as all of our pre-packs come labelled with prices and nutritional information.

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Chunk of Devon Pies & Pasties

We have been stocking Chunk of Devon pies, pasties and savories for a long time now and they continue to be great sellers for us.

Based in Ottery St Mary, Chunk of Devon grew out of the back of a butchers shop and they have continued growing ever since. Their products have won over 100 awards over the years from the British Pie Awards to Taste of the West Gold and, to the dismay of their Cornish counterparts, Britain’s Best Cornish Pasty.

Flavours include steak pie with smoked bacon and baby onions, lamb and SteakStiltonPieCropmutton pie with redcurrant jelly, peas and mint, chicken pasty with spicy chorizo and smoked paprika, pork pie with Devon Scrumpy cider and apples and pork sausage roll with cranberries and mixed herbs. There are many other flavours available, all of which are wrapped in their delicious signature buttery pastry and available both individually and by the case. Treat yourself today!

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New Flavoured Cheeses!

Ford Farm is a West Country Farmhouse cheesemaker idyllically located in the rolling Dorset Downs. All of their cheeses are hand made by a team of expert cheesemakers using methods and recipes dating back hundreds of years. Milk is sourced from local, free-range dairy herds to produce great quality cheese which is continuously graded throughout the maturation process to ensure the best possible taste.

cheddar-with-chilli-limeWe have recently extended our Ford Farm range to include a variety of their innovative blended cheeses. These include cheddar blended with lime marmalade, chillies and red and green peppers, wensleydale with dried fig and honey, cheddar with port and cheddar with mushrooms and black truffle.

These will be added to our current range of flavoured cheeses such as cheddar and spring onion, cheddar with marmite and cheddar with chip shop curry sauce. There are many other flavours being added so be sure to check out the flavoured cheese section of our website and find your new favourite!

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Chinns Sausages

ChinnsSausageHead

Chinns sausages are well known and highly regarded throughout Devon and the South West and have been hugely popular with our customers.

Established over forty years ago by W. F. Chinn, the business has continued to develop and thrive over the years with owners Tony and Rose Palmer. Based in Crediton, Devon their sausages are made to a secret recipe developed in the 1950’s by W. F. Chinn himself using locally sourced, West Country meat.

There are a variety of flavours available from traditional Cumberland, Pork & Leek and Pork & Honey to the more unusual Pork & Stilton, Smoky Chorizo and Pork & Marmalade. Back for Christmas 2017 is their delicious Pork & Cranberry sausages and Pork Cocktail sausages which are perfect for buffets. All are available in packs of four 225g and packs of eight 450g.

 

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