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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Cheese Showcase: Barber’s Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Established 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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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.

ppEnglishCuredBack (2)Bacon, Brie and Cranberry Panini
Ingredients:
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 Tabouli
Great for a quick lunch fix this mixes Delphi tabouli with lentils and tomatoes for a healthy, satisfying lunch.

Ingredients:Tabouli
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.

Ingredients:chorizo
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:
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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