Cheese Showcase: Blue Cheese

It seems that the origin of most innovative creations come from human error. Take the story of how blue cheese came into being; it is thought that a drunken cheese maker left behind a half eaten loaf of bread in moist cheese caves. On his return he discovered the mold covering the bread had transformed it into a blue cheese and the rest is history! Today this naturally occurring mold has been refined and cultivated and almost all blue cheeses are now made by adding this to milk during the cheese making process. The cheese is pierced during maturation which allows air to react with the mold and results in the characteristic blue veining common in most blue cheeses.
Blue cheese is one of our favourite varieties with flavour profiles ranging from mellow and creamy to sharp and tangy, below we explore some of our bestselling blue cheeses.

stilton 2 (2)Stilton
Perhaps one of the best known of the blue cheeses our Stilton is produced by the Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery, one of only six creameries in the UK permitted under the EU Protected Designation of Origin status to produce traditional Blue Stilton. It is a rich, complex cheese with a smooth creaminess when young developing into a tangy sharpness when mature. The texture is light and crumbly with a straw-like colour and dark blue veining throughout. We like this crumbled over salads with pear and walnuts or stirred into creamy pasta with some mushrooms or bacon. The cheese is available in whole 4kg rounds and 200g retail packs, click here for more info.

Dorset Blue Vinny
Dorset Blue Vinny was once made in almost every farmhouse in Dorset until the Second World War when production died out. The cheese was resurrected in the 1980’s using a 300 year old recipe and is today made on Woodbridge Farm by dorset blue (2)Michael Davies. This is a lovely, mellow blue cheese with a creamy, crumbly texture. Due to its artisan production the colour varies greatly from cheese to cheese, typically it is a deep yellow on the outside with a much lighter, creamy colouring towards the centre and dark blue/green veining throughout. Try this in a creamy leek and potato soup or on some crackers with a light, fruity chutney. The Blue Vinny is available in whole 3kg rounds and 150g retail packs, click here for more info.

Devon Blue
Made by Robin Congden of Ticklemore Cheese in Totnes, the Devon Blue is produced by hand using cows’ milk sourced from a local farmers co-operative. devon blue (2)This is a moist, crumbly cheese with buttery, clean flavours and soft texture. As the cheese matures it develops slightly sweet, caramel tones resulting in an intriguing, complex cheese. The colour of Devon Blue is pale and creamy with subtle blue veining throughout. Try this in a savoury cheesecake with walnuts and rosemary or in a warming blue cheese and broccoli soup with chunky bread. Devon Blue is available in whole 3.5kg rounds and 130g retail packs, click here for more info.

Blue cheeses are wildly different and their astonishing range of flavours mean we will never tire of trying new ones.

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Local Producers – Barbers Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Barbers Farmhouse Cheesemakers.barbers

The Barber family began making their cheeses on Maryland Farm in Somerset in 1833 and today produce their award-winning Cheddar on a much bigger scale whilst retaining their original values and techniques. The Barber’s cheeses are madebarbers mature using milk from their own herd of cows as well as extra milk sourced from surrounding farms. Their expert cheesemakers combine traditional techniques with modern innovations to produce their excellent cheeses from the ‘cheddaring’ process (the curds form slabs which are then stacked by hand) to the use of technology to increase production and maintain consistent quality.
Barber’s cheese is also one of only a handful in the South West to have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, awarded to selected foods which are made in a certain way or in a particular area. In this instance for Cheddar to be called Westcountry Farmhouse it must be made using milk from Somerset, Devon or Dorset, using traditional techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ and matured for at least nine months. The achievement of PDO status marks a high quality product.

We currently stock a number of Barber’s cheeses including the Farmhouse Mature Cheddar, typically matured for up to 12 months it is full of flavour with a mellow richness, and the Farmhouse Red Leicester which is made with barbers (2)traditional starter cultures, West Country milk and a small amount of annatto plant dye which results in its distinctive red/orange colouring. This is a smooth, buttery cheese with a firm texture and subtle, mellow sweetness. We also stock the flagship 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar which is matured for at least 24 months during which time the cheese develops an unrivaled complexity and depth of flavour with a creamy texture and naturally occurring salt crystals to give it a distinctive crunch.

All of the Barber’s cheeses are available in both retail packs of 200-320g and catering sizes from 1kg-5kg and the full range is available to view here.

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Local Producers – Langage Farm Dairy

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Langage Farm Dairy.langage-farm-logoLangage Farm has been a working farmstead for over 900 years. Located in the rolling Devonshire hills the Harvey family began producing their now famous clotted cream in 1980 to supply a nearby shop. This small scale production soon grew and in 2003 with the expansion of the dairy, Langage moved across the clotted creamfields to a new farm in Smithaleigh. Today the farm employs around 50 people and a herd of 250 Jersey and Guernsey cows to produce their delicious range of clotted and double cream, luxury yogurts, thick and creamy natural yogurts and various flavours of ice cream.

We currently stock a range of the Langage Farm products including their clotted creams which are available in 57g, 113g, 200g and 907g pots, double cream which is available in 284ml bottles, natural yogurts available in 450g pots and luxury yogurts available in cases of 12, flavours include lemon curd, English raspberry, cherry and strawberry. We can also stock all flavours and sizes of Langage FarmLangage-layered-yogurts-web ice cream including traditional clotted cream vanilla, indulgent coffee mocha and festive Christmas pudding flavours available in 500ml and 4ltr tubs.

Langage Farm creams have become synonymous with delicious Devonshire products, click here to view the whole range of products and for more info.

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Local Producers – Jacksons Fishmongers

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Jacksons Fishmongers.jacksons logo

A traditional fishmongers and smokehouse Jacksons Fishmongers was established in Newton Abbot in 1922. Sourcing the majority of their fish from nearby Brixham Jacksons focus on supplying sustainably caught fish and SmokedSalmonFillets (3)shellfish to their customers. All of the boats from which they buy their fish are endorsed by the Marine Stewardship Council and most are line caught in keeping with ethical guidelines or from boats adhering to the Responsible Fishing Scheme. Jacksons also produce their own smoked fish range using their on site smoker.

We stock a variety of Jacksons products including the smoked mackerel, peppered mackerel, smoked kippers and hot smoked trout which are all available in 100-200g retail packs. Recently we have also begun stocking their frozen salmon fillets which are available in individual 200g portions. Click here to view the full range and for more information.

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Unit Extension!

If you have visited our unit recently you may be aware of the building work going on around us. We are currently in the process of extending our unit to include a much larger refrigeration space, new bespoke packing and production rooms and improved office space. Perhaps most importantly for us and our customers is the extension of the fridge which will enable us to begin stocking a wider variety of new and exciting products in the new year. The photographs below show the whole extension process from clearing the area behind our current unit to our products back on the shelves in their home:

We are already noticing a difference with how much space we now have. While our office extension remain ongoing the fridge and production rooms are now completed. We can’t wait to begin filling the new refrigeration space with brand new delicious products in the new year!

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Local Producers – Devon Choice

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Devon Choice.

streaky baconDevon Choice supply the majority of our retail packed bacon. Based in Teignmouth they have been supplying traditional bacon and cooked meats throughout the South West since 1975. A small family owned business, Devon Choice rely on their consistent quality and value from the same high quality pork supplier to keep loyal customers returning time and time again. Originally supplying back bacon and speciality hams they are now able to smoke their own bacon over traditional oak chippings, resulting in a unique and delicious flavour. ppEnglishCuredBack (2)

We currently stock lean English cured back bacon, smoked back, streaky and smoked streaky bacon all of which are full of flavour and available in both 2.27kg catering packs and 200g retail packs. The Devon Choice dry-cured bacon has become a bestseller, naturally dry cured for up to two months the result is a strong tasting, robust flavoured bacon. Click here to view the full range.

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Local Producers – Sharpham Cheese

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Sharpham.sharphamCheese-making on the Sharpham Estate began in 1981 in the eighteenth century coach yard of Sharpham house. In 2003 the team moved to a purpose built creamery on the estate which allowed them to scale up production while retaining the traditional techniques that had made their cheeses so popular. All Sharpham cheeses are handmade by expert cheese-makers using the rich, unpasteurised milk from their own herd of Jersey cattle. The unpasteurised or sharpham brieraw-milk used to make their cheeses results in a completely unique flavour that changes seasonally with the climate, temperature and the feed given to cows.

The Sharpham range includes the award-winning Sharpham Rustic, a semi-hard cheese with mellow, creamy flavours and fresh lemony undertones when young developing into a slight nuttiness once matured. This Rustic cheese is also available in a Chive & Garlic version made with freshly pureed garlic which adds a delightfully savoury flavour to this creamy cheese.
The Sharpham is their soft cheese, often described as a brie or Frenchticklemore goat Coulommier style cheese, it has a unique buttery flavour and soft, creamy texture.
Ticklemore Goat was originally made by Robin Congdon of Ticklemore Dairy but is now made by Sharpham. A light and delicate goat’s cheese it has a moist, crumbly texture and subtle zesty flavour.

Click here to view the whole Sharpham range and for more info.

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Local Producers – Chunk of Devon

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Chunk of Devon.vFT_ivXsChunk of Devon are producers of award-winning pies and pasties made on their premises in Ottery St Mary. Beginning out of the back of a small butchers shop the business was taken on in 2006 by Simon and Suzi Bryon-Edmond both of whom came from catering backgrounds with a belief that food should be ‘simple, tasty and natural’. Chunk of Devon products can now be found throughout the county and their delicious pies, pasties and savouries are now available in a variety of mouth-watering flavours all made using locally sourced ingredients.

SteakAlePieCropThe Chunk pie selection includes the Kickin’ Chicken pie made with lightly spiced chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers in a creamy curry sauce, Steak & Ale pie made using Otter Ale brewed at nearby Otter Brewery and locally sourced beef and the Chicken & Bacon pie made with smoked bacon, chicken and leeks in a creamy white wine sauce. All of the pies are wrapped in Chunk’s signature buttery shortcrust pastry and are available in wrapped individual, deli-unwrapped cases and frozen unbaked cases, click here to view the whole range of pies.
Their pasties are made using the same traditional shortcrust pastry recipe and include flavours such as the Chicken & Chorizo pasty full of smoky chorizo, salsa, red onion and smoked paprika, Steak & Blue pasty made using free-range beef and tangy Stilton and the Roasted Vegetable paCheddarBaconBombDeliCropsty with sweet potato, butternut squash and red onion which is now also suitable for vegans. The full range of pasties can be viewed here.
The savoury selection includes the original Chunki Sausage Roll wrapped in buttery puff pasty, the Cheese and Bacon Crown made with mature Cheddar, smoked bacon and onions and topped with tomato and new for this year, the Spinach, Squash and Cheese Roll full of butternut squash, spinach, sun-blushed tomatoes, goats cheese and brie. For more information on the savoury selection click here.

Just in time for the festive season Chunk of Devon have also recently released a range of buffet-style gourmet minis which are available in frozen baked cases of 60 with 20x Ultimate Steak pies, 20x Chicken, Leek & Bacon pies and 20x Roasted Vegetable pasties in each case. Click here for more info.

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Local Producers – Wessex Country Gammons

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Wessex Country Gammons.

cooked hamEstablished in 1987 at Vine Close Farm in Wimborne, Dorset, Wessex Country Gammons began as a producer of quality cooked hams before expanding their range to include beef, turkey and continental deli meats. Hams are very much still the focus with a range including honey glazed, hickory smoked, golden breadcrumb and natural ham. Extreme care is taken to ensure that all of their meat is sourced from RSPCA assured farms with the highest welfare standards ensuring the best taste for their customers.

We currently stock their whole 3kg cooked gammon ham, whole 3kg honey roasted gammon ham and sliced retail gammon hams available in 250g and 500g packs and the whole range is available to view here.

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Award-Winning Cheeses!

Last week was the prestigious World Cheese Awards this year held in Bergamo, Italy as part of the city’s annual FORME cheese festival. A record 3804 cheeses were entered to be judged in a single day by teams of technical experts, buyers, retailers and food writers on their colour, texture, consistency and taste. A number of our local cheeses were recipients of awards ranging from Bronze to Gold including Sharpham Cheese, Quicke’s Cheese, the Cornish Cheese Co and Lynher Dairies.

Sharpham Rustic with Chive & Garlic
rustic chiveMade by Sharpham Dairy on the Sharpham Estate in Totnes, South Devon this won Silver at the World Cheese Awards last week. A semi-hard unpasteurised cheese made from Jersey cows milk it is full of rich, pungent garlic flavours underlined by a lovely creaminess with a soft, edible white rind. The team at Sharpham employ traditional techniques paired with a wealth of expertise to create their range of fantastic cheeses and are certainly no strangers to awards. Their Rustic Plain, sister cheese to the chive version, won Gold at last years International Cheese Awards while the Ticklemore Goat also won Silver at the World Cheese awards this year. Their range of cheeses are available in whole 1kg rounds as well as 150g retail packs.

Cornish Yarg
This wild nettle wrapped cheese is made by Lynher Dairies on their farm in ruralcornish yarg Cornwall using milk from both their own herd of Ayrshire cows and cows from carefully selected local farms. The nettles are hand picked from hedgerows in early spring and then frozen so that they last all year round. Wrapped around the cheese before the 4-5 week maturation, the leaves impart a delicate, mushroom flavour and the nettles themselves develop an attractive white bloom. This is a deliciously fresh and creamy cheese which clearly appealed to the judges as it won Gold at this years awards. Other cheeses made by the dairy have also been the recipient of many awards over the years including the prestigious Supreme Champion at the 2017 World Cheese Awards for their Cornish Kern and their Wild Garlic wrapped Yarg also won Gold at this years awards. The Yarg is available in whole 3kg rounds as well as 150g retail packs.

Congratulations to all winners at the World Cheese Awards!

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