The Great West Country Dairy

devonCheese has been made in Britain for thousands of years; our moderate climate, year round rain and lush rolling landscape make the country – and more importantly for us the West Country – ideal for dairy farming. As wine is renowned for its ‘terroir’ so cheese develops flavours unique to the grass, soil and climate in/on which the animals graze. In small scale dairies this results in cheeses with different depths of flavour dependent upon these factors which sets them apart from manufactured cheese and production line dairies. In the following blog we explore three West Country dairies and the delicious cheeses that they produce.barbers

The Barber family have been producing their traditional farmhouse cheddar since 1833, making them the world’s oldest surviving cheddar-makers. Daniel Barber began making cheese on Maryland Farm in rural Somerset mainly for his family and farm workers using milk from his own herd of cows. However as demand for the cheese grew more milk was needed and by the 1950’s the family were working with surrounding farms to barbers maturekeep up production.
Today the farm is still very much a family business who have not lost their passion for cheese-making. Time honoured techniques and recipes passed down through the generations combined with modern technology have ensured the longevity of this traditional cheddar. We stock a wide range of Barber’s cheeses including the Vintage Reserve 1833, the Mellow cheddar and the Haystack Tasty as well as their Red Leicester and Double Gloucester cheeses. Click here to view the whole Barber’s lynher dairiesrange.

Lynher Dairies are producers of the award-winning Cornish Yarg cheese. First made in the 1980s on Bodmin Moor by Alan Grey, who found the 17th century recipe for nettle-wrapped cheese in his attic, Yarg is now made by Catherine Mead at their custom built dairy near Truro. Other cheeses include a Garlic Yarg, Stithians cheese and the Cornish Kern which won Supreme Champion at the World Cheese Awards in 2017. The yargrich Cornish milk used in the cheese-making process comes from their own herd of Aryshire cows and is also sourced from nearby farms. This coupled with the cheese-makers’ experience and expertise results in some truly delicious cheeses. We currently stock the classic Yarg and the Garlic version.

Robin Congdon was the original pioneer behind ticklemore cheeseTicklemore Cheese Dairy. In the 1970’s he began reviving the tradition of sheep milking in the UK and, with thirty sheep on a smallholding near Exeter, began producing yogurt and soft cheeses. Soon he and his partner Maurice Ash expanded the business to a larger farm on the banks of the River Dart where the Beenleigh Blue and later Harbourne Blue and Devon Beenleigh3Blue cheeses were developed. The 1980’s were an exciting time for producing speciality cheeses and a larger dairy was built to accommodate new varieties including Ticklemore Goat and Devon Rustic – both of which were given to Sharpham Creamery once production needed to be simplified. We stock their Devon Blue and Beenleigh Blue cheeses.

There are many more dairies and cheeses that we could have mentioned here which proves just how lucky we are to live and work in this beautiful county. The hard work of dairy owners and the expertise of its cheese-makers ensures that the West Country cheese remains a renowned speciality.

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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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Cheese Showcase – Garlic Yarg

This Garlic Yarg from Lynher Dairies in Ponsanooth Cornwall is made to the same recipe as traditonal Yarg with the only difference being that instead of wrapped in nettles it is wrapped in wild garlic leaves.

Foraging in far flung places as untouched by humans as possible, the skilled leaf-picking team select only the best pungent leaves to encase the cheese. The team look for vibrant green leaves which are not torn or trodden on and of the right size – if the leaves are too small the tight, concentric circles needed to wrap the cheese are almost impossible to achieve. All of this means that the pickers have a very small time frame in which to collect the leaves, usually from mid-March to the end of April.

The wild leaves impart a gentle garlicky flavour into the cheese and their moisture also results in a slightly firmer texture than traditional Yarg. It is delicate and fresh with a lovely subtle creaminess that perfectly embodies this time of year. Try it as a twist to traditional cheese scones or it is equally delicious as part of a cheeseboard.

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Award Winning Products!

totw_awards_2018_0-1-1024x1024As the International Cheese Awards kick off today and continues tomorrow, we’ve been thinking about the many awards our products and their producers have won over the years. From the South West based Taste of the West to the British Cheese Awards and even international accolades we are so lucky to have some of the best food the UK has to offer right here on our doorstep!

Waterhouse Fayre have been winners at the annual Taste of the West Awards for a number of years. Their signature strawberry jam has been a double Gold award winner and this year their blackcurrant and raspberry jams both won Silver, while their new turmeric and Somerset cider & apple chutneys both showcased with Gold. Ann Stallard turmericestablished Waterhouse Fayre back in 2004 and since then the company has grown and morphed into a recognisable Devon brand. Her intriguing mix of flavours and balance of new and traditional means that there is always something new to discover.

Lynher Dairies has been a regular face at cheese awards up and down the country and this year their Cornish Yarg won Gold at the British Cheese Awards and the Wild Garlic variety won Silver. New for this year was their Cornish Kern which was internationally recognised at the World Cheese Awards being named Supreme Champion. Based in Ponsanooth, Cornwall this small artisan dairy is one of the most successful of its kind in the country.

Chunk-pasties-sqChunk of Devon are also no stranger to awards with over 100 going to their pies, pasties and savories – in 2009 their Steak pasty even won Best Cornish Pasty at the British Pie Awards! From Taste of the West alone this year they won Gold for their Venison & Port pie, Steak pasty, Homity pie, Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon pie and Squealer Pork pie. Their melt in the mouth, buttery pastry and use of locally sourced ingredients wherever possible ensures a great Devonian product. This year they have also launched a vegan friendly pasty made using wholemeal flour and a pea glaze with delicious roasted vegetables, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Cornish Olive Stall olives have become bestsellers since we started stocking themBasil last year. A small, family run business based in St Austell they have sourced the best olives from around the world and combined them with delicious homemade marinades to create mouth-wateringly good flavours. The judges at this years Taste of the West certainly thought so with the Garlic & Rosemary winning Gold and Basil Pesto olives winning Silver awards respectively. With so many great flavours available and even simple Pitted Green for you to experiment on your own, these olives are certainly worthy of their awards!

The vast number of awards going to these local producers is testament to their hard work, dedication and passion. Congratulations to you all!

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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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