From April to June we are focusing on sharing Neal’s Yard Dairy’s cheese selection criteria with our customers. To begin this theme, we will look at one of the foundations of good cheese: the milk. The height of what a cheese can achieve is dictated by the quality of the milk. Cheesemakers who produce cheese with the greatest of care demand the very best milk. These are the cheesemakers we choose to work with. We are passionate about selling cheese that reflects careful farming practices and milk production. Good milk for cheese is packed full of inherent interest. That is why we care so much about the use of raw milk, or the milk from small and unique farms. It is a happy coincidence that the 21st of April is also Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day. If you haven’t already, please sign up to our email newsletter or follow us on our social channels as we explore why milk matters in the coming weeks.
Made by Mary Holbrook at Sleight Farm in Somerset.
Raw goat’s milk, animal rennet.
Mary has not tilled the land on her small farm since she took over running it in the late 1970s. Wandering her fields you cannot help but notice the huge diversity of wild flowers and grasses her goats nibble on.We are selling these cheeses relatively young, at about 4 weeks, as it’s the beginning of the season. Unlike the cheeses we will see later in the season these are not yet fierce, peppery or especially salty. They have a lovely bright and herbal flavour. The texture of the paste is smooth with a rich mouthfeel.
WHIN YEATS WENSLEYDALE
Made by Tom and Clare Noblet at Whin Yeats Farm in Cumbria.
Raw cow’s milk, animal rennet.
The batches of Whin Yeats Wensleydale we are selling now are tasting rich and buttery, whilst at the same time offering a delicate mushroomy flavour. The texture is full of bounce: not a hard, tight cheese, but one that is alive and springy. We feel so pleased to have watched as Tom and Clare have grown their cheesemaking venture over the last year to such a scale that their cheese now holds a permanent place in our online shop.
KIRKHAM’S MATURE LANCASHIRE
Made by Graham Kirkham near Goosnargh, Lancashire.
Kirkham’s is the only raw milk farmhouse Lancashire being produced in the world. Graham is not only a skilled cheesemaker, but an expert at making premium quality silage. This attention to detail pays dividends in the quality of the milk. This mature version of the cheese is aged for around 10 months by the team at our Borough Market shop. The flavour profile is upfront and punchy, with a crumbly texture that is drier than its younger sibling.
Made by Joe Schneider and team in Nottinghamshire.
Raw cow’s milk, animal rennet
Stichelton is unique in being the only raw milk cheese made to a Stilton recipe in England. Although he is not a farmer himself, Joe can see the milking parlour from his make room. The milk is slowly, gently pumped directly from the parlour, and cheesemaking begins whilst the milk is still warm. The current batches of Stichelton we include here are tasting particularly spicy. Towards the rind, there is a delicious nuttiness and a sweetness that balances the piquant, salty flavours of the paste perfectly.