This week’s cheese is a new-but-old Cheshire from H.S. Bourne. I’ll let John Bourne himself describe the cheese:
Our latest adventure into traditional cheese making is in trying to copy the process detailed in a book written in 1845.
We achieve this in the following way:
We use grass fed milk as this was the practice at the time because Cheshire Cheese was made only in the summer months.
We use the minimal quantity of starter culture to add security to the make process, whereas in 1845 reliance was placed on naturally occurring bacteria in the milk, in order to create the required acidity. As this period the rennet used to coagulate the milk was of animal origin which is what we use today.
The development of the curd in the vat is a much slower process and a great deal of patience is required along with good care. We do have the advantage of a thermometer which in 1845 was not widely available. We are able to measure acidity development during cheese making through the use of modern titration, which was not available to cheese makers at the time.
When we are satisfied that the process is completed we add salt to the curd which is then milled and filled into moulds.
The cheese in spring was eaten young but later in the summer the cheese was matured up to 6 months.
Crabtree and Federia are made in Malpas (home of Bourne’s) by Anne Clayton. They are alpine-style cheeses: Gruyere meets Cheshire. Both cheeses are grassy, buttery and smooth. Crabtree is gentler and softer, while the more mature Federia is richer and firmer.
Last week’s Cheese Of The Week (getting a bit tardy with the computer stuff, sorry – but we always have the Cheese of the Week label in the shop if you pop in for a visit, and there is still a bit left) is Blue Cheshire from Bourne’s in Malpas. It combines the dry texture and slight sourness of their Cheshire with blue veining. A singular blue cheese to try.
This week sees a return to the Bourne family in Malpas (mentioned in COTW #3). The family has been making cheese since the 1700s, at its current farm since 1930, and John Bourne describes Mrs Bourne’s Mature Cheshire as their flagship.
We currently have the coloured variety, although don’t be expecting anything vibrant – think more pale coral than red leicester. It is the fullest flavoured cheshire I’ve come across yet, and is great on a ploughman’s with a good onion pickle (or indeed pickled onion).
*did you know our neighbours at Tea on the Green feature our Cheese of the Week on their ploughman’s?
This week’s recommendation is one of the range of Cheshire cheeses made by the Bourne family in Malpas. It’s a lovely full-on smokey number – you can smell the smokiness, and see the grill lines (think halloumi straight from the barbeque) – and the tanginess of the Cheshire complements this really well. I’d suggest perhaps some of Charlie’s Country Garden’s Roasted Garlic, Apple and Shallot chutney with this one, or maybe just a bit of fresh green apple.
Other Bourne options include an unpasteurised Cheshire (although this is fast running out), Mrs Bourne’s Mature Cheshire (coloured), and a Blue Cheshire (particularly good as an unusual alternative to stilton).