Cheese Showcase: Barber’s Farmhouse Cheesemakers

d456f295511931ec07bf34f4b07bf333Established in 1833 Barber’s is one of the oldest surviving cheddar makers in the world. Based on the same Maryland Farm for the last two centuries, they are proud to keep traditional cheesemaking practices alive using the finest Somerset milk from their own herd of 2500 cows. They are one of a handful of farms awarded Protection Designation of Origin status which certifies that the cheese they make is produced using locally sourced milk, traditional cheesemaking techniques and matured for at least nine months.

1833 Vintage Reserve
Named for the year in which Barbers Cheesemakers was established this cheddar has a powerful, complex flavour and a smooth, creamy texture with occasional crunch due to the formation of natural calcium lactate crystals. Only the best cheeses are graded highly enough to be matured for the full 24 months and emerge as this vintage 1833.

Red LeicesterARB_WEB_700x700px_RedLeicester_AW_grande
Milk quotas from the 1950’s to 1990’s meant that dairy farmers no longer needed to produce cheese to make ends meet and this resulted in the mass closure of small farmhouse dairies. Barbers were able to survive by shifting from cheddar to Caerphilly production and later on to double Gloucester and this red Leicester. A slightly sweet, mellow cheese this is matured for around four months with the addition of annatto which provides its distinct red colour.

Haystack Tasty
Developed using a new starter culture used to control the cheese ripening process, this cheese is strong and well rounded in flavour with a slightly crumbly texture. It is matured for up to 12 months to fully develop its distinct, rich flavours and is a firm favourite with us!

Barbers also produce the traditional mellow, mature and vintage cheddars as well as double Gloucester, Caerphilly and Cheshire cheeses. All are available in both bulk catering blocks and pre-packed sizes to suit your requirements. Call to order yours today!

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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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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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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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