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.Cheese-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 raw-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 French 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Ticklemore Goat was originally made by Robin Congdon of Ticklemore Dairy but is now made by Sharpham.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.
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
Made 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.
This wild nettle wrapped cheese is made by Lynher Dairies on their farm in rural 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!
A soft cheese named after the French region from which it originated, Brie is a much loved classic, the most famous being Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun which both have protected designation of origin status however unlike its English contemporaries such as Farmhouse Cheddar and Stilton, the generic name Brie was not protected and is now used to describe any soft, bloomy rinded cheese. There are now many varieties available all over the world, a few are also made here in the South West and we’ve listed some of our favourites below.
Made by Lubborn Creamery in the lush valley of Cricket St Thomas, this brie is made to traditional methods, allowing it to soften and ripen from the outside in and develop its fresh creamy flavours and soft, edible white rind. Pasteurised and suitable for vegetarians this is one of our best selling Bries.
Hand made using unpasteurised Jersey cows milk on Sharpham Dairy in Totnes, South Devon this mould-ripened Coulommiers style cheese has unique rich, buttery flavours and a soft, creamy texture. It is matured for four weeks during which time it grows its edible bloomy rind and gradually ripens from chalky to soft and gooey.
A decadent version of classic Cornish Brie the St Endellion is enriched with locally made double cream for a rich, full bodied flavour. Made by the team at Trevarrian Creamy near Newquay the texture softens as it ripens and the cheese develops its characteristic golden colour, soft pale rind and deliciously creamy interior.
Any of these Bries are a perfect addition to cheeseboards, their soft, creamy texture makes an interesting contrast to the hard cheese options. Sharpham in particular is great melted on roasted vegetables and the St Endellion makes a fantastic dessert cheese while the Somerset Brie is delicious baked in the oven with some rosemary. However you like your Brie try one of these and we promise you won’t be disappointed.
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 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.
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.
Originally made by Ticklemore Dairy it is now part of the neighbouring Sharpham family. A pasteurised semi-hard goats cheese full of zesty, lemon 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!
April showers and brief glimpses of sunshine signal the beginning of a new season – spring! The slightly warmer weather coupled with a few drops of rain results in sweet and lush green grass which is enthusiastically chomped at by cows, goats and sheep who have likely been grazing on hay all winter; meaning fresh new cheeses full of the tastes, smells and feel of spring. We’ve listed a few of our favourite cheeses below that we think are best enjoyed at this time of year.
Fosseway Fleece from the Somerset Cheese Company is a perfect spring cheese. A hard, pasteurised ewes milk cheese, it is light and creamy with a fresh, mellow afterglow and slight sweetness. It is made in the style of Cheddar which makes it a great choice of ewes cheese novices.
A fantastic spring goat’s cheese is the Capricorn from Cricket St Thomas’ Lubborn Creamery. This is a soft, creamy cheese with an irresistible gooey centre and mild, clean and fresh flavour and a firm favourite of ours.
The Sharpham Estate produce some great year round cheeses. However we think spring is the perfect time to try their Rustic cheese. As it has yet to fully mature the cheese is fresh and clean tasting with lovely lemon and citrus flavours coupled with a slightly crumbly texture. It is also available with fresh garlic and chives which adds a delicious savoury depth to the cheese.
Beenleigh Blue is a ewes milk cheese made by Ticklemore Cheese in Totnes, South Devon. It has the bright, floral flavours characteristic of spring cheeses which develop into richer, creamier flavours as the cheese matures and a slightly crumbly texture.
Embrace the seasons and discover the vast seasonal differences in your favourite cheeses.
Devon has a rich history of dairy farming which lends itself rather well to cheese production. The rich milk from well nourished herds roaming freely among lush green pastures produces delicious artisan cheeses. We’ve listed a few of our favourite Devon cheeses below.
Based at Stockbeare Farm near Okehampton in Devon, Curworthy have been producing top quality artisan cheeses for the last 25 years. The milk is sourced from local dairy farms and pasteurised on site to produce award winning cheeses. Their signature Devon Oke is made to a recipe dating back to the 17th century and has mellow, slightly sweet flavours and a creamy texture. Newer cheeses include Dartmoor Chilli which blends Devon Oke with fiery Ring of Fire chillies grown at the nearby South Devon Chilli Farm and Devon Maid, a mould ripened soft cheese with rich and creamy flavours and described as a combination between brie and camembert.
Sharpham Dairy was established in 1981 on the Sharpham Estate near Totnes, Devon. They produce hand made artisan cheeses using the rich milk from their own herd of Jersey cows and today employ traditional cheese making techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ the cheese by hand. Their cheeses include the Rustic which is a semi-hard, unpasteurised cheese with fresh, lemony flavours, there is also a variation using fresh garlic and chives which lends a savoury depth to the cheese. Their brie is award winning with delicious buttery flavours and creamy texture.
The Quickes have been producing traditional cloth bound Cheddar on Home Farm near Exeter, Devon for the last 500 years using recipes passed down through the generations and milk from their own herd. Their cheeses are all made by hand and allowed to slowly mature for the best flavours. Their vintage cheese is matured for up to two years which allows the rich caramel flavours to fully develop, resulting in a full bodied, complex cheese. Their cloth bound goats cheese is full of buttery, creamy flavours with distinct nutty undertones and is typically matured for six months.
Ticklemore Cheese are based in Totnes, Devon and have been making cheeses for the last 40 years. One of its founders Robin Congdon was a pioneer in the 1970’s, reviving the tradition of milking sheep in the UK. One of their most popular cheeses is the Devon Blue which is made using pasteurised milk from local farms. It has clean, buttery flavours and moist, slightly crumbly texture. Another favourite is the Beenleigh Blue which is a ewes milk cheese. The milk is only available in the Spring and early Summer, during this time as much Beenleigh as possible is made, some is then kept back at colder temperatures to last throughout the year. The result is varying seasonal flavours, early cheeses are light and fresh while the matured cheese is richer and creamier.
We are proud to stock local cheeses and support local dairies wherever possible, it does help that Devon produces some great tasting cheeses!
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 honey 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 – we 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.