We believe there is nothing more important than relationships within Country Cheeses so every week we’re on the road! We collect as many of the cheeses we sell ourselves, direct form dairy as possible, of course there’s a few exceptions that we have couriered to us – not sure we could pop up to Lancashire and back every fortnight!
Here we are (Gary, Elise & Bex) setting off for a day around Somerset.
The sun was shining, the roads were clear and we were on a mission to stock up after a busy busy few days.
As we nip up and down every week we don’t see all our cheesemakers every week but first on our list this week was Keens – one of the very most traditional cheddar makers with their farm in the heart of Somerset, Wincanton. Keens has been made on this farm for multiple generations now with George Keen leading the pack with brother Stephen. Stephen’s son Nick works the farm while George’s son James is cheesemaking too. Just last week they picked up 7 (SEVEN!!) Awards at Frome Cheese Awards for their mature, extra mature & vintage cheddars. While we were chatting away with George he brought out a sample of the next batch of Keens Vintage for us to try – he’s kept this one maturing away for over 3 years & it is epic! Look out for it shortly in the shops. We also had a nice little surprise of another small batch of Keens Special that you will only find with us in Country Cheeses – these cheeses are the ones that just don’t fit George’s profiling for mature, extra mature or vintage you see, they’re quirky 🙂 And we do love quirky!
Next stop on the way was to pick up the slightly salted butter from Maryland farm just down the road by a stones throw. Although they’re a bigger dairy, every single person you come across whether they’re driving a forklift, in the office or grabbing the order from the cold store has a wave and a smile. There’s such an air of happiness around this farm that’s so special.
Off in the van again we headed for Phil & Anita at Somerset Cheese Company on Ditcheat Hill. We didn’t actually have an order to pick up this week but being old friends a cuppa was on the cards and this week was made with the buffalo milk they use to make Pendragon & new cheese Guinevere – creamier but lighter than cows milk, made a great cuppa! Chat chat chatting away we found out that the next batch of Guinevere are coming along nicely and ready for us to collect next week – at three months old they have a deliciously moreish creaminess and a hint of tang without a sharpness. Watch this space. You’ll always catch Phil wearing the best slogan tees too – this week “The Wizard of Rainbow, King of the Cheese Hill”.
The next stop of the day was Whitelake cheese dairy where a happy Sean & Lou met us with the news we had ordered for collection on Thursday (haha whoops!) but they were so helpful and picked the order for us anyway. We pick up such a range of award winning cheeses from Whitelake including cows milk, ewes milk and goats milk cheeses. Some ash coated, some washed rind and some wrapped in vine leaves. All sorts!
The last stop of the day was the gorgeous Sunnyside farm to collect a small box of organic, small batch ewes milk cheeses called Milstone & Little Ryding. The smallest scale artisan cheesemaking that comes with a lot of variations so try and ask about them from batch to batch. Quick cuppa & almond croissant (because why not eh?) and off home we go to unpack our treasures