Words by Patricia Michelson
Three new cheeses have landed on our cheese room shelves, and they share a character and style, but with cow, goat and ewe milk to showcase their particular qualities.
Five years ago when a young Cheesemaker would ask me what they should try to create, I said Britain needs more interesting goat cheeses. It’s great to have contact with a producer to discuss the way forward for a new enterprise and goat cheese is quick to transform from milk to cheese and therefore something that produces an income from the start.
When I have been asked recently what should be made, however, I have been saying washed-rind cheeses. They are more complex as the micro-organisms that spread on brine-washed rinds needs careful management, but the rewards in taste are multi-layered and really interesting.
It’s exciting to see that there are two new ones from England, and one from Belgium, on our shelves. All three are from small, independent producers, where dairy management is of prime importance from the grass pasture to the processing of the milk into cheese. The ewe and goat cheeses will not be available throughout the year as the animals are allowed to take a break and have their ‘kids’ in the cooler months. Following the natural rhythm of nature may appear to some to be not cost effective, but to those of us who love the fact that cheese follows the seasons, this is not only important to the flavours of the milk and the resulting cheese, but also allows our palates to enjoy the flavours at the right time.
All these cheeses have a common denominator, and if I had to predict anything for the future, it would be that the insightfulness of thoughtful production of food is the way forward, and also the way to protect the welfare of the land, the animals and the end result – the food it provides us.