Traditional cheese making techniques require the use of rennet in the ‘curdling’ process whereby the curds and whey are separated, the problem with this for vegetarians is that this rennet is sourced from the stomach of young calves. Luckily many cheeses produced in the UK are now made using alternative rennet such as fungal/bacterial sources and genetically modified micro-organisms. However there are some cheeses such as Parmesan, Grana Padano and Gorgonzola that have to be produced to traditional methods including the use of calf rennet, these are therefore unsuitable for vegetarians. While the following list is not by any means exhaustive, it includes some of our most popular cheeses made using vegetarian rennet.
We’ll start with traditional Cheddar; all of our Taw Valley, Maryland and Ford Farmhouse range are suitable for vegetarians.
Based in North Tawton, Devon the Taw Valley master cheesemakers use high quality milk sourced from local farms and traditional recipes to produce great tasting cheeses. Barbers of Maryland Farm are one of the few farms awarded Protection of Designation of Origin status meaning that their Cheddar is made to exacting standards including using milk sourced from Devon, Cornwall, Somerset or Dorset, using traditional techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ and allowing the cheese to mature for at least nine months. Ford Farm are based in Dorset and have been producing Cheddar for over forty years using methods and recipes dating back over 600 years.
Quickes are producers of traditional cloth bound cheeses and while some of their range uses animal rennet they also have a range suitable for vegetarians including their Elderflower cheese. Based near Exeter in Devon the team make all the cheese by hand using techniques which have been passed through the generations for over 500 years. This elderflower cheese is a fresh and creamy Cheddar with real elderflower running through it. It is delicately scented with rich and buttery flavours.
Devon Blue is made by Ticklemore Cheese near Totnes, Devon without the use of rennet making it suitable for vegetarians. Made using unpasteurised Friesian cows’ milk sourced from local dairies, it is allowed to mature for up to eight months to allow the flavour to fully develop and is moist, slightly crumbly in texture with buttery rich flavours.
Cornish Brie is made by Trevarrian Creamery on the North Cornwall coast using locally sourced milk, this rich Cornish milk is what gives the brie its characteristic yellow, buttery colouring. Best of all it is made using vegetarian rennet with a soft and silky texture and mild, creamy flavour. For added luxury try their St Endellion Brie which is made with added double cream and still suitable for vegetarians.
Check out our website for the full range of cheeses suitable for vegetarians and discover something new!