Devon Blue is one of three cheeses made by Ben Harris and his team at Ticklemore Dairy in Devon. After the development under the original cheesemaker, Robin Congdon, of a sheep’s milk cheese, Beenleigh Blue and a goat’s milk cheese, Harbourne Blue, came Devon Blue, a cow’s milk blue cheese.
Initially it was seen as something to fill the seasonality gaps presented by the other cheeses. It is made to a Roquefort recipe, as with the other two cheeses. Devon Blue has a quick set. The young cheeses are dry salted and pierced, then aged in a cave-like environment for a few weeks where the blue mould is encouraged to develop. They are then wrapped to prevent further blueing and cold matured at around 5c. This means the flavour in the paste is able to develop slowly over several months.
The milk used for Devon blue comes from a co-operative of local farms in the South Hams. Because the Dairy don’t produce their own milk, they choose to pasteurise what they bring in.
It can sometimes be hard to know how much cheese to buy. If you are at all unsure please give us a call for some advice. As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend roughly between 100 and 150 grams per person for after dinner, and a bit more if cheese is the focus of the meal.
If you are buying cheese to serve over a couple of days or as part of a buffet, it is advisable to buy a few larger pieces. This will both look better and keep better than many small bits.
To help visualise weights, a good tip is to consider that a regular supermarket pat of butter weighs between 200 and 250 grams.
Farmhouse cheese is handmade and thus varies with each day’s production and changes as it matures. As such it is necessary to apply a common sense approach to cheese care and respond to the cheese you have in front of you, as opposed to following rigid guidelines. Here are some pointers which will help you to ensure you eat your cheese at its best.
We sell our cheese wrapped in waxed cheese paper, which achieves the best possible balance between maintaining humidity around the cheese and allowing it to breathe. We are happy to provide some extra cheese paper, you can add some to your basket by visiting “accompaniments“. If you wrap your cheese in cling film or foil, it can cause the cheese to sweat which will negatively affect the flavour.
Cut pieces of cheese should be kept in the refrigerator to slow the growth of mould on their cut surfaces. However, it is important to be aware that refrigerated cheese is more likely to dry out, particularly if it is not wrapped. The best option is to keep the cheese wrapped in its waxed paper within a box in the fridge. The container will help to prevent the cheese from drying out and prevent the cheese from absorbing flavours.
It is very important not to serve your cheese when it’s too cold as cold cheese can taste bland and inert. As a general rule of thumb you should bring it out of the fridge a few hours before you plan to serve it. You should keep your cheese wrapped whilst it is coming up to room temperature, to avoid any risk of it drying out. If it is especially warm you should reduce the amount of time the cheese is out of the fridge accordingly.